Space heater fire destroys west Toledo family's home

Damage caused by the fire
Damage caused by the fire

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - A west Toledo family is homeless after a fire destroyed their belongings Sunday evening on Vermaas Avenue. Now the victim and the Toledo Fire Department hope this tragedy can serve as a reminder about a common fire hazard.

The fire was started by a space heater.

"We have nothing now. This is all we had," said Dorris Henderson.

Henderson and her 10-year-old granddaughter have two days now to find a new place to live.

Henderson says they were only gone 10 minutes to grab something to eat, but when they got home, they knew something was wrong.

"My smoke alarms were going off," she said. "I thought I left some food on the stove, come to find out it was my electric heater."

"It's very easy to start a space heater and forget about it," said Lt. Matt Hertzfeld of the Toledo Fire Department. "It's doing its job, it doesn't make noise or alert us it's working, it's easy to forget about those."

Some safety tips to remember:

  • If you are using a kerosene heater, only fill it when the unit is cooled off and outside
  • Keep three feet around the space heater clear of anything flammable
  • Make sure the unit is in good condition
  • If you have to use an extension cord, make sure it's a heavy-gauge cord

Whether you use space heaters or not, make sure all your smoke alarms are working and that your family has a practiced fire escape plan.

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