Spike in Home Fires Blamed on Heating Alternatives

Firefighters are urging you to be careful, heating your home. We have seen a spike in home fires with people trying to heat their homes.

There have been more than 20-structure fires, since Christmas Eve, in the Tulsa area.

This time of year families expect to throw away wrapping paper and boxes, not belonging and things that burned in a fire.

But firefighters are seeing more fires, because of residents trying to stay warm. In the fire at 4145 E. east Xyler, Thursday morning, investigators say a grandson used paper to light the stove to keep warm. He reportedly threw the paper in the garage, for trash. But the paper caught fire and raged out of control. He and his grandmother escaped with burns.

Firefighters in Tulsa have seen 10 fires since Christmas Eve directly related to heating. Space heaters were involved 8 times.

Space heaters can't be left unattended. Experts say a blanket can catch fire, being too close, or any other flammable material, including carpet or even plastic flooring.

"If you knock it over, its going to land on carpet, or if too close to combustible, they put out a lot of heat so if they are are within three feet of something that can catch fire, they will burn after a while," said Stan May, of the Tulsa Fire Department.

Firefighters say most deaths related to fire, result from no working smoke detectors.

The Tulsa Area Red Cross has helped more than 30 families since December 20th. They have used about 20-thousand dollars, assisting with food, clothes, shelter and medicine.