Now that the fall weather has arrived, more and more furnaces and heaters are starting to be put into use.
Henryetta fire chief David Bullard said this is the time of year when house fires are more prevalent.
“We have an increase in smoke and fire calls because people have their heaters being used for the first time,” he said. “Too often those problems can be cured by a few minutes of cleaning and checking out the heaters.”
In the event of standing floor heaters, Bullard said homeowners should make sure the gas fittings are tight with no leaks. “Rub over the fittings with a soapy water solution. If bubbles form, there is a leak. Don’t light any matches or have open flames until those leaks are sealed.” Sometimes those issues can be solved by simply tightening the connection. If that fails to stop the leak, a technician is needed.
“Often we have people reporting a strange smell when they turn on their heaters for the first time,” the chief said. “That usually comes from lint that has accumulated during the spring and summer. The pilot tube and gas outlets should be cleaned before turning on the unit.”
Wood-burning fireplaces should be inspected and the chimney cleaned before lighting that first fire, the fire chief said.
“Over the winter months, flammable creosote and soot builds up in the chimney. It can catch fire and the blaze can spread throughout the house quickly.”
Bullard said electrical space heaters should not be used to warm up the homes unattended and at night.
“The electrical cord can heat up and ignite a carpet within minutes.”
Anyone who smells smoke after starting their heaters or furnaces for the first time should call the fire department immediately and leave the home.