KINGSPORT – Just after 4 am (February 19, 2015) ‚ a Kingsport family at 546 Jersey St was awakened by their smoke alarm. A fire had started near an in-wall heater. The Kingsport Fire Department responded to find the structure with heavy smoke and flames. The fire was extinguished with about a 50% loss in the structure, and smoke damage throughout the entire home. The family escaped without injury is attributable to the smoke alarm being in working order. The American Red Cross responded to help the family that was displaced.
The in-wall heater with large coils is a common type found in Kingsport homes built prior to 1970. The switch on many of these heaters is a thermostat. Many residents have turned the thermostat to the lowest position expecting it to be off when it is actually setting the thermostat to a very low temperature. When low temperatures occur, the heater will come on automatically.
If your home is equipped with and in wall heater make sure there is at least a three bart area around the heater where there are no combustible items. ‚ If you no longer use the heater have an electrician unhook and/or ‚ remove the heater.
The Kingsport Fire Department urges you to check your smoke alarms monthly. If your smoke alarms are over 10 years old they need to be replaced with a Dual Sensor Smoke Alarm.
Dual Sensor Smoke Alarms have an ionization sensor for fast burning fires and a photoelectric sensor for slow smoldering fires. Place long life lithium batteries in the alarms to last the life of the alarm.
For more information contact the Kingsport Fire Marshals Office at 423-229-9440