Space heater sparks house fire

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published March 6, 2018

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A resident of Shady Lane has been displaced after a fire started by a space heater spread through a two-story house.


St. Clair Shores firefighters were called to the 20000 block of Shady Lane around 7:20 p.m. March 4 after a witness driving by the home saw flames coming out of the second-floor window.


Fire Marshal M. Bodnar said the fire was sparked when a space heater was left unattended near combustible items. The resident was not home at the time of the fire.


When firefighters arrived on the scene, they discovered that the fire had begun on the first floor underneath a set of stairs leading to the second story of the house. Crews had difficulty getting to the second floor to fully extinguish the smoldering fire. The Eastpointe Fire Department assisted St. Clair Shores in putting out the blaze.


“They had to improvise,” Bodnar said.


The space heater had not tipped over, Bodnar said, but was left on while it was near combustible items. A three-foot diameter of space is recommended around a space heater to operate it safely. Appliances, including space heaters, should not be left unattended while operating, Bodnar added.


“Don’t store it near windows with curtains, bedding, anything like that,” she said.


The house did not have any working smoke detectors. The fire left the structure in an unlivable condition.


The resident was able to find somewhere to stay. Bodnar said that, in “other circumstances when there’s nobody to turn to, we do call the Red Cross in and, in some cases, their insurance company will also pay for emergency shelter.”


No one was injured in the fire.