FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The Fresno Fire Department wants to remind residents to be careful when they use space heaters inside their homes. 

Investigators believe a space heater is to blame for a Tuesday night fire at an apartment complex on E Weldon and North Angus.

That fire injured a resident and displaced 15 in the process.

According to Fresno Fire’s PIO, 13% of the nation’s home fires are a result of space heaters.

That means any time you use one you must take every precaution, so you don’t encounter a similarly dangerous situation like on Tuesday night.

“We do find this most common during the winter months as folks are looking for ways to stay warm and try and save money on heating,” said Jonathan Lopez, PIO for the Fresno Fire Department.

Lopez said Fresno Fire usually sees problems due to human error, much more often than mechanical failures leading to fires.

“One of the things they can do is to make sure, first of all, that they always plug their space heater directly into the wall socket, don’t plug it into a power strip, don’t use an extension cord,” said Lopez

“Make sure that there’s at least three feet of clearance around the space heater,” he added.

Lopez told us certain items are especially dangerous around a space heater.

“Nowadays, we have a lot more building materials in clothing and in furniture that is made from synthetic fabrics, which is all petroleum based. So, all of that stuff will melt and when it catches fire, it burns hotter,” he said.

A manager at Fresno Ag Hardware has seen people constantly come in to buy them, but said you won’t save money if you try to heat the whole home.

“If you stay in the room you’re hearing, you don’t have to spend a fortune. These things, I mean, they draw power, they make your utility bill go up. So if you can, you know… don’t try to heat the whole house with one of these,” said Kevin Seubert, store manager at Fresno Ag Hardware.

Fresno Fire also wants to remind people to have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, as those are the first line of defense in life-threatening events like fires.