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Oklahoma City Fire Department officials warn of potential for winter fires

Colder temperatures often drive people to use heat sources like candles, ovens and space heaters, which all have their own risks.
by Graham Lee Brewer Modified: November 14, 2013 at 9:38 pm •  Published: November 15, 2013

As temperatures drop across the state, the potential for fire injuries and gas poisonings related to people heating their homes will rise, said local fire prevention officials.

Some of the state's low-income individuals often turn to heat sources such as candles, which can tip over and burn, and ovens and grills, which emit dangerous gases like carbon monoxide, said State Fire Marshal Robert Doke.

Doke also noted that space heaters are often misused when people rely on them to heat rooms or homes.

Cpt. Benny Fulkerson, of the Oklahoma City Fire Department's education office, said space heaters are a big source of fire injuries and deaths this time of the year, noting the death of five people, including four children, in an Oklahoma City home last year after a space heater was placed too close to a couch, which ignited after everyone had fallen asleep.

“People just don't realize that anything will burn,” said Fulkerson. “The main thing to keep in mind with the space heaters, no matter which kind you're using, the general rule is to keep them three feet away from anything that burns.”

Doke and Fulkerson both also encouraged citizens to purchase a carbon monoxide detector for their homes.

“Carbon monoxide is the silent killer,” said Doke. “It just renders you unconscious.”

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by Graham Lee Brewer
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Graham Lee Brewer began his career as a journalist covering Oklahoma's vibrant music scene in 2006. After working as a public radio reporter for KGOU and then Oklahoma Watch, where he covered areas such as immigration and drug addiction, he went...
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