Fire Devastates Home and Injures Girl's Hand.

Natalie Potts

JACKSON, Tenn.- Fire officials are warning residents to take extreme precaution when using space heaters, after a fire that was caused by a misused heater destroyed a home in midtown Jackson, Friday.

"It's pretty well totaled it looks like because it got into the attic," said Capt. Terresia Reasons, Jackson Fire and Arson Investigator.

Officials said they have seen too many devastating fires because space heaters that are often misused this time of year. Jackson firefighters battled the blaze on Currie Street, Friday afternoon.

The fire caused one injury to the home owner's hand and arm. Family members told WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News the owner is lucky to be alive. Friends said she tried to fight off the flames with a hose until the fire got out of control. Officials said the heat inside became so intense, it blew out one of the window's near the homeowner, which cut her hand, arm and face.

"She was close enough that the glass did cut her hand and her arm," said Battalion Chief Gregory Pewitte of the Jackson Fire Dept.

Family members told WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News that the flames erupted just minutes after they heard a loud booming sound. Investigators said that sound came from an overloaded extension cord that was powering several space heaters in the hallway. Fire officials said the extension cord became overheated and sparked near clothing that was laying around and on top of the cord.

"Extension cords are low wattage and their insulation is usually not large enough to carry the amps for a space heater," said Capt. Reasons.

Fire officials said you should never leave a running heater alone, especially if it is an older model. They can easily start a fire if used carelessly.

"(The) main thing safetywise is not to leave heaters like that close to chairs or curtains and keep a 3 foot distance from anything combustible," said Chief Pewitte.

Reasons said it is never a good idea to use extension cords with space heaters, unless the cord is heavy duty, has a surge protector and can handle a high voltage. In addition, you should maintain all cords and extension cords, routinely checking them for damage and exposed wiring to help prevent a fire.

If you do use space heaters, fire officials said make sure it stays away from children and pets who could knock it over or spill liquids near the device. Another important safety measure is to clear the area around the heater and cord. Do not lay clothing or rugs over the cord, and do not power more than one heater in one outlet.

The home on Currie Avenue is considered to be a total loss. What has not been burned, has smoke and water damage.

If you would like to help the family contact: Pastor Edward E. Lewis of The Body of Christ Holiness Church at (731) 431-6045.


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