Tyler Fire Department: Portable space heater responsible for Selman Street fire

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Updated: Nov. 9, 2019 at 3:20 PM CST
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The Tyler Fire Department said a portable space heater was responsible for a fire Friday night on Selman St.

According to the Tyler Fire Department, Tyler firefighters responded to a structure fire Friday night at 313 W. Selman St.

The initial call was received around 7:20 p.m., with the caller advising that an electric heater was on fire. The initial arriving unit reported flames and heavy smoke coming from the two-story structure. A second alarm was ordered, summoning additional resources to the scene. TFD responded with six engines, a ladder truck, a district chief, and an investigator. All units were clear from the scene around 10:40 p.m.

The department said firefighters were able to gain control of the fire, which spread from an upstairs bedroom to the attic area. All occupants were able to evacuate prior to the fire department’s arrival, with no injuries reported.

“They were just so thankful they were all there and unharmed,” said Tammy Prater, the executive director for the Red Cross of East Texas. “That’s not an unusual response when you experience something like that, it’s so traumatic and you’re just so grateful everyone is okay.”

The family said they just have to stick together during this tough time.

“The great thing about it is they do have such a close family and they’re not alone,” said Prater. “They’re going to be together as they build this recovery.”

Investigators determined that the fire originated in an upstairs bedroom, specifically in the location of an electric portable space heater that was originally placed on a small table near a bed. One occupant noted that the heater had been turned on approximately 30 minutes before she noticed the fire. Upon entry into the room, she witnessed the heater on fire, with flames spreading to the nearby furnishings.

The fire department said the bedroom and attic suffered severe fire and heat damage, with significant damage to the remainder of the upstairs area. The downstairs rooms suffered smoke and water damage as well. The Red Cross was notified to assist the occupants and were coordinating temporary housing for the evening at a local hotel.

The department said as cooler weather results in more residents using home heating appliances to warm their homes, the Tyler Fire Department reminds citizens to use caution when utilizing portable space heaters.

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