Space Heater Safety Tips

Reported by: Ellen Bryan
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Updated: 1/31 11:14 pm

The Muhlenberg County community is remembering nine members of the Watson family who were killed in a house fire early Thursday morning.

Police said the mother, Nikki, and eight of her children died in the fire.

The father, Chad, and daughter, Kylie, both escaped and are in critical condition at a Nashville hospital.

Experts said people can have little time to react in a fire.

Sometimes families can have as little as two minutes to get out of the house after the smoke alarm sounds.

“I think it's more an illustration of how fast fire can overcome people,” Dr. Susan Pollack, the head of Kentucky’s Pediatric and Adolescent Injury Prevention Program, said.

Fire investigators said the Watson family was running a baseboard heater in one of their three bedrooms and that’s what started the fire.

“Space heaters often run at a very high temperature,” Pollack said. “So if you have a blanket that gets slipped off a bed and is sitting on a heater, it can catch fire and you don't get very much time to get out.”

Pollack recommends keeping space heaters at least three feet away from combustible objects.

She also said to have a working smoke detector in the home and a plan of how to get out of the house if a fire should happen.

“I think all of those family members would not have died in vain if we can at least prevent anymore people from dying that way,” she said.

For more information on fire safety, Pollack recommends these websites:

http://www.safekids.org/fire

http://www.cdc.gov

http://www.usfa.fema.gov/citizens/home_fire_pres/heating/

http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/causes/heating/?p=1

http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Fire-Safety-Information

Meanwhile, Calvary Baptist Church is holding a candlelight vigil prayer service for the Watson Family Friday night.

The church’s pastor, Timothy Burden, said Chad Watson is also a pastor.

Burden said Watson preached this past Sunday on the topic of family and marriage.

“We welcome the family with open arms and they've been a major blessing to this church,” Watson said.

The Church has set up a memorial fund for the Watson Family. You can make donations to either one of the following banks.

- Old National Bank: Calvary Baptist Church Watson Family Fund

- First Kentucky Bank: Watson Family Memorial Fund

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