Space heaters give heat, but also carry danger

When temperatures drop, demand rises at places like Lowe's.

Space heaters once filled now empty shelves.

"We had 300 to 400," says store manager John Grennan. "They're all gone, completely."

And for every heater a customer carries out comes potential danger.

"A lot of people will put them next to a bed or curtains," says Brent Perkins with the Shelby County Fire Department. "And these are things that will burn in moments."

Firefighters believe a space heater may be to blame for a blaze Friday afternoon inside an East Memphis home. Two people were taken to the hospital.

"A lot of time the space heaters are old," says Perkins. "They don't have the newer safety features if you knock them over."

Fire crews are all too familiar with blazes sparked by space heaters. It's something they see whenever cold weather hits.

They say heaters should always be kept at least three feet from any flammable material. Also, don't use them to thaw pipes, cook food, warm bedding, or to dry clothes. Look for frayed insulation, broken wiring and overheating and turn space heaters off when you leave the room or go to sleep.

"Let's use some common sense, let's use some basic safety," says Perkins.

And let's hope you won't see or hear a fire truck coming toward your house this winter. Safety rules also apply to fireplaces and open flames like candles.

And be careful with generators too. They give off poisonous gases and should not be used indoors.