Fire experts are sharing safety tips after heat lamps caused fires in three northeastern Connecticut towns this month.
The fires happened in Thompson, Plainfield and Brooklyn. According to fire officials in all three towns, the fires were caused by heat lamps that were being used for animals.
One of the fires in Thompson involved a duck pen against the back of a house.
"Due to the extent of fire damage, we could not pinpoint if the heat lamp failed or if the lamp got knocked off from where it was clamped down and came in direct contact with combustible materials inside of the pen," James Seney Jr., the town's fire marshal, wrote in an email.
He shared some safety tips:
- Make sure heat lamps are properly listed by a testing lab
- Use the heat lamp according to the manufacturer's recommendations
- Always keep heat sources at least 36 inches away from any combustible material
"Just like any other appliance, have to be used as they are designed," said Vernon Skau, who has worked as New London's fire marshal for the last seven years.
He stressed that it is not just heat lamps - it's actually the most dangerous time of year for any kind of heating-related fire.
"More than 48,000 fires occur annually. Half occur between December, January and February," said Skau.
If you are using a space heater, Skau said it is important to keep the area around it clear. He also warned against plugging the space heater into an extension cord.
"You want to plug it into the wall," said Skau. "Also keep the space heater on a very flat surface so it won't tip over."
Additional fire safety tips include making sure your smoke alarms have batteries in them. If you live in an apartment building, it is especially important that all fire doors are closed to prevent fire from spreading.
"Just some very simple steps can make sure that your home is as safe as possible," said Skau.