TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The Tyler fire marshal said a fire that destroyed a home Friday night was started by a space heater.
Crews responded to reports of a fire at 313 W. Selman Street shortly after 7 p.m. Fire Marshal Paul Findley said the caller reported an electric heater on fire.
First responders arrived to see flames and heavy smoke coming from the two-story structure. A second alarm was ordered and more units were dispatched to the scene.
Ultimately, six fire engines, a ladder truck, a district chief, and an investigator responded.
The fire spread from an upstairs bedroom to the attic area. Preliminary reports indicate that the fire originated in an upstairs bedroom in a space heater originally placed on a table near the bed.
One of the house’s occupants said the heater had been turned on about 30 minutes before she noticed the fire. When she entered the room, she saw the heater on fire with flames spreading to the nearby furnishings.
The bedroom and attic suffered severe fire and heat damage, with significant damage to the remainder of the upstairs area. The downstairs rooms suffered smoke and water damage as well. The Red Cross was notified to assist the occupants and were coordinating temporary housing for the evening at a local hotel.
No one was injured in the fire.
As cooler weather sets in and more people turn on heaters to keep warm, the Tyler Fire Department is reminding everyone to exercise caution when using portable space heaters. According to the United States Fire Administration, heating is the second leading cause of home fires.
TFD offers these tips to prevent fires and to stay safe this winter season:
- Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet from all heat sources including fireplaces, wood stoves, space heaters or candles.
- Never use an oven to heat your home.
- Turn space heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
- Plug portable heaters directly into outlets and never into an extension cord or power strip.
- Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected each year by a professional.
Additionally, citizens should ensure the presence of operable and properly located smoke alarms, and learn what to do if the smoke alarm sounds. Make a home escape plan with all members of the household, then practice it together at least twice a year.
Emergency crews are on the scene of a structure fire in Tyler.
The fire is on Selman Street near the intersection with Bois D’Arc.
No injuries have been reported.
The family has reportedly lived in the home since 1995.