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Lamar House Fire Sparks Concerns Over Space Heater Safety, Uses - KOAM TV 7

Lamar House Fire Sparks Concerns Over Space Heater Safety, Uses

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     A space heater is to blame for a fire in Lamar that destroyed a home.
     And it's *how* that space heater was used that has fire officials concerned.
Becci Jones with Jones Plumbing and HVAC says "First of all I would recommend that if you do have frozen pipes, that you call a professional, a professional is going to know what to do when they get there."
Her husband, Chris Jones, owns Jones Plumbing in Lamar.
After hearing about the fire Wednesday night, she was upset for those involved.
Jones was surprised of the cause.
Officials say a space heater was being used to thaw frozen pipes under the house, when something ignited.
Fire Chief Larry Beatty: "The house was fully involved from one end to the other, it was a double wide modular type home, it was well involved, and we just did an exterior attack on it."
Chief Beatty says the structure couldn't be saved.
In all, about 20,000 gallons of water were used to put the fire out.
All that remains is this charred shell.
Professionals like Becci Jones say there are ways to prevent pipes from freezing, which could have potentially prevented this fire.
Jones: "If you have not covered your crawl spaces, make sure that you do that, if you need some extra insulation around those crawl spaces, close those vents on the outside, if you've even done that, and you've noticed that water is starting to freeze, leave your water dripping, as long as the water is moving through the pipe, it's not going to freeze."
With a snap of bitterly cold temperatures on the way, and the use of space heaters increasing this winter season, officials say you need to monitor those space heaters very closely.
Jones: "Space heaters, they do give you instant heat, but they are very unsafe, if you have to use one, do not ever leave it unattended, do not go to sleep with it on, again, it just takes one second for something to happen like that."
Beatty: "We don't recommend leaving fans unattended even in the summer time, you just don't leave appliances like that unattended."
     What exactly ignited that space heater is still under investigation.

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Chris Warner
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A Joplin native, Chris first started in broadcasting at age 16 at KSNF-TV in 2004..

Chris joined the KOAM team in 2017 as an Associate Producer. In April, he moved into a full-time reporter position. He spent time from 2008 to 2016 in various retail roles around the region before returning to his passion at KOAM. Chris is excited to continue telling the stories of the four states. Chris and his wife Amber live in Joplin and have three amazing children.

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