HUTCHINSON, Kan. — The heating related fires in 2021 had several different causes, according to Hutchinson Fire Marshal Mike Cain.
For 2021, we had one fire directly caused by a space heater where it was too close to combustibles, fell over or something got on it," Cain said. "We had three others that that were caused indirectly by space heaters, the most probable cause was an overload of the branch circuit electrical, generally too many plugged in. This occurs mainly in older homes with aged or outdated electrical systems, for instance knob and tube wiring. People tend to plug in multiple space heaters and start blowing a 20amp fuse so they put in a 40 amp fuse to keep that from happening. All four of those fires were in rentals."
Wood stoves were also an issue.
What we saw just as much in 2021 was a string of improperly installed, usually homemade, wood burning stove fires," Cain said. "We had four of those within the last part of 2021, three in rentals and one owner occupied, all in garages."
The next leading cause of fires related to heating involved the improper disposal of fireplace or wood burning stove ashes with people who ended up with fires generally scooping out the ashes and throwing them in their poly cart. There were four of those fires in 2021.