Fire Official Says be Cautious with Propane Heaters

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MCALLEN – With the potential of freezing temperatures local fire officials are urging people to be cautious when using portable heaters.

A portable heater is an option for those who don't have central heating and are looking to avoid the harsh cold temperatures.

"It's been brutal and it just reminds me of Minnesota," said Linda Yose a Mission resident originally from Minnesota.

Yose and her husband enjoy being outside no matter the time of the year.

"We sit outside on our deck in the shade and tolerate the 110-degree weather or whatever," said Yose.

Even with the recent cold weather, they don't want to sit inside their home.

"We were trying to think what else can we do to warm up the shed," said Yose.

After some consideration, the Yose’s settled on a propane heater.

"I was a little concerned about it because I didn't like the propane tank in here with something attached to it," said Yose.

McAllen Fire Marshal Gerald Williamson says people like the Yose's need to be extra careful when dealing with gas-powered heaters.

"Gas fire heaters, of course, is a combustion process," said Williamson.

When using these types of heaters, Williamson says you run the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

"It's important to have carbon monoxide detector along with a smoke detector in the home and so those are two other elements to other protective devices somebody can install in their home to kind of insure their safety," he said.

Yose said they are being extra cautious with their heater and staying aware of potential risks.

"When we're not out here it's off we shut it off," said Yose.

With warmer weather on the horizon, Yose says she ready for the days they can enjoy the outdoors without a heater.

If you are looking to invest in a portable heater Williamson recommends an electric one over a gas one. There are a few things you can do with an electric heater to keep yourself safe.

  • Keep the heater at least 3 feet away from anything which can burn including people
  • Place the heater away from foot traffic and exits
  • Make sure it has an auto shut-off in case it falls over
  • Plug the heater directly into the wall outlet, never use an extension cord


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