HOUSTON – The cold weather comes with a higher risk of home fires dues to the people turning on their heaters and plugging in space heaters.
For one woman in northwest Houston, that risk became a reality after she turned on her heater for the first time ahead of the freeze Tuesday night, authorities said.
According to the Houston Fire Department, the fire started around 1 a.m. Wednesday at an apartment near Pinemont Drive and Hollister Street after the woman turned on her heater for the first time this season.
HFD said she turned the system on and after a couple hours started smelling smoke.
When she looked, she saw smoke coming from the attic, at which point she grabbed her son and evacuated her apartment and waited outside for HFD to arrive, authorities said.
According to HFD, the motor in the heating unit caught fire and they had to pull the ceiling down to get to the fire.
HFD emphasized the importance of getting your heaters, furnaces or fireplace checked before turning it on in order to prevent these kinds of fire.
“We always forget about stuff like … checking the lint in the filters and checking the fan motors, stuff like that,” said Robert Branch with the HFD. “Especially the first time you start your heater. You’re going to get that little smell, maybe a little puff of smoke, but before you do it, it’s a good idea to do a little maintenance.”
The damage was contained to a single unit.