Great Bend Fire Department received three back-to-back fire calls on Monday, including a carbon monoxide alarm, Chief Mike Napolitano said.
At 5:13 p.m. Monday, they were dispatched to All Seasons Mobile Home Community, 4 NW 30 Road, where a camper trailer was on fire. Napolitano said the trailer was a total loss. People were staying in the trailer but no one was there at the time. The fire was caused by a space heater that was too close to combustibles.
While they were at that fire, a call came in at 5:40 p.m. from 2531 Russell Parkway. Firefighters were met by the occupant, who said she came home from work and found smoke and soot in the house. They found a fire had started around a trash can in the basement and was out. The cause was ruled “accidental.” The firefighters opened the windows and used a fan to blow smoke out of the house.
During that call they were sent to 5825 Broadway Ave. at 6:04 p.m. for a carbon monoxide check. CO was coming from the fireplace, so the fire was put out and the occupants were advised to have someone clean and service it.
Another CO check was performed at 1 a.m. on Tuesday at 1055 Warner Road, but no carbon monoxide was found.
At 10:37 p.m. Tuesday, there was a problem with frozen pipes affecting the sprinkler system at St. Rose Ambulatory & Surgery Center, 3515 Broadway Ave.
Firefighters made four ambulance runs Monday and three Tuesday.
Use heaters with care
Several recent fires in Great Bend have started with combustibles that were too close to a floor furnace or a space heater.
“With space heaters you have to be careful, all around,” Napolitano said. Be sure to leave at least 3 feet of space between the heater and anything that can burn, such as blankets. Set the heater on a flat, level surface so it doesn’t tip over. Keep an eye on pets or small children.
Safety consulting and certification company Underwriters Laboratories (UL) suggests additional safety tips with space heaters:
• Use space heaters only as a supplementary source of heat.These devices are not intended to replace the home’s heating system.
• Do not use extension cords with space heaters unless absolutely necessary.
• Inspect the heater’s cord periodically to look for frayed wire or damaged insulation. Do not use a space heater with a damaged cord.
• Check periodically for a secure plug/outlet fit. If the plug becomes very hot, the outlet may need to be replaced by a qualified technician. This could be the sign of a potential home wiring issue.
• Unless the heater is designed for use outdoors or in bathrooms, do not use in damp, wet areas.
• Look for the UL Mark on your electric heater. This means representative samples of the appliance have met UL’s stringent safety standards.
• If you have a liquid-fueled space heater, use only the fuel recommended by the manufacturer. The wrong fuel could burn hotter than the equipment was designed for and cause a serious fire.
• When refueling, turn off the heater and let it cool down completely before adding fuel. Wipe away any spills promptly.
• Before you buy a kerosene heater, check with your local fire department to ensure that it is legal. (Mark Orth at the Great Bend Fire Department said they are not illegal here, but use of kerosene heaters is not recommended as they can cause carbon monoxide problems if not properly vented. Follow manufacturers’ safety precautions.)