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Firefighters from Indianapolis and Speedway recently responded to a call on Corwyn Road to find a single-family house in flames. Although smoke alarms alerted the residents and no one was injured, the residents were left homeless, and the house suffered an estimated $50,000 in damage from the blaze.
According to reports, the fire began when an oven that was being used improperly set fire to combustible material nearby. The fire damaged the kitchen and a large part of the house, and photos from the scene show it burning through the roof.
The owner of the home told firefighters that she had been using the oven to heat the house. This is a dangerous practice that Battalion Chief Rick Longerich of the Indianapolis Fire Department had warned against only a few days earlier in an interview with a local news station. Ovens are not a reliable or safe method of heating a home, and this kind of improper use leads to many fires each year.
Even portable space heaters, which are designed to produce supplemental heat, can be a major fire hazard if improperly installed or if allowed to operate near flammable items. Users will sometimes “place them too close to combustibles such as bedding, couches, furniture, or curtains, and that creates a huge problem,” Longerich said. In fact, in a separate fire in Indianapolis the very next day, seven people were left homeless, with two needing medical attention, when an unattended space heater with a damaged electrical cord set a house on fire. A similar incident a few weeks before left another family homeless.
Longerich also noted that using heaters without proper ventilation brings the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide accounts for more than 400 accidental deaths each year, with a significant fraction due to improperly ventilated furnaces, space heaters, and other similar devices. Carbon monoxide is one of the most common causes of poisoning in the United States.
Not all problems caused by a consumer product, such as a space heater or oven, are due to misuse by the consumer. Sometimes products are dangerous because of the way they were designed or manufactured.
If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of a defective product, you are urged to contact the Indianapolis Products Liability Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.