Baseboard heaters cause recent fire
February 19, 2008
SUMMIT COUNTY A recent fire at a Breckenridge condominium proves that baseboard heaters can pose fire danger and residents should be aware of how to properly maintain them. Earlier this year Red, White & Blue Fire Department responded to a fire caused by a faulty electric baseboard heater. The fire caused approximately $50,000 in damages to the condo and displaced five occupants. It appears the fire was due to an internal malfunction in one of the electrical baseboard heaters, said Fire Marshal Jay Nelson. Two suitcases, which were placed against the heater, contributer to the spread of the fire and subsequent damages.Baseboard heating systems are set up so that each baseboard is reponsible for heating a particuar room or area. Cold air is drawn over a series of metal plates called fins and is then directed back into the room by a deflector hood. Area around the heaters should be kept clear of any objects or furniture, and residents should vaccum baseboards to eliminate dust that can build up in the heaters over time. The fire danger associated with baseboard heaters is relatively low and many heaters have a built-in thermal cutoff which shuts off the heater in the event of overheating. During these cold winter months, it is important to keep fire safety in mind as youre heating your living areas, said Captain Kim Scott. Keep all combustibles- suitcases, furniture, bedding, basically anything that can catch fire- at least 12 inches away from baseboard heaters and any other heating unit.Residents should always monitor thermostat levels and be alert for any sounds or smells coming from baseboard heating units. We also want to remind folks to be sure that every level of your home has a working smoke and carbon monoxide detector, and to plan and practice a home escape plane with your family, said Scott.Ashley Dickson can be reached at (970) 668-4629, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.