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Heat lamps attributed as cause of house fire

A house fire in the Oklahoma City area south of Yukon was extinguished by the Oklahoma City Fire Department just before New Year’s Eve Dec. 30. The home in the 11600 block of SW 5th Street was unoccupied at the time.
A report from the OKC fire department said the cause of the fire was determined to be two heat lamps left outside for a pet. Hay was also seen around the dog bed and on the back patio, according to the report. Damages were estimated at $70,000 for the structure and $30,000 for contents.
Firefighters reported upon arrival that heavy smoke and fire was coming from the rear of the home, with fire reportedly heavy on the back patio and in the center part of the rear of the house. Fire had made its way into the attic through the soffit, and smoke was pushing from the eaves on both sides of the home.
“An aggressive attack ensued as well as a search which revealed no one inside the home,” an OKC fire department report states. “A crew on the roof was ordered to come down as the fire quickly gained momentum, and interior crews were ordered out of the structure.”
A failure of a large ridge beam over the garage made the situation even more dangerous for crews, the report states. Due to the compromised structural integrity, the fire was then fought from the exterior until the fire could be controlled.
Firefighters were eventually able to again fight from inside, and confirmed that the fire and smoke damage was primarily in the back bedroom, in the middle of the home, and in the attic. The remainder of the home had smoke damage, the report states.
An OKC Fire Department spokesperson said, “We do see fires involving heat lamps from time-to-time. If a heat lamp is used, make sure it is secured properly. Like other heating sources, heat lamps should be kept at least three feet away from combustible materials.
“Installing heat lamps inside dog houses is dangerous because they are not three-feet away from combustibles, and they can easily fall or be knocked down by the pet and ignite bedding or hay. Use appropriate outdoor cords according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and inspect wiring regularly.”
The spokesperson said homeowners should consider other alternatives and decide if a heat lamp is worth the risk.

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