Sunrise family displaced after heater causes fire

Craig Curry says family got out safely

SUNRISE, Fla. – A Sunrise family is displaced after the heater caught fire at its home Thursday morning.

Firefighters battled the flames that started at the Northwest 14th Street home.

Craig Curry told Local 10 News he was there with his wife, daughter, son-in-law and his grandchildren.

"We were using the heater," Curry said. "It had not been used since we moved in. We've only been there 10 months."

Curry said everyone was able to get out of the home safely.

"We're just displaced for a few days until we can contact the insurance people to find out exactly what they can do for us," Curry said.

Curry's family did what most would do when temperatures drop, but Peter Blanco, who owns Hi-VAC Air Conditioning Service in Sunrise, said residents "have to be smart about running an electrical heater."

Blanco said heaters are similar to stove-top ovens.

"Basically, you know how the stove top gets red? Well, that's what's happening inside the air conditioner with the air blowing across it and heating up the house," Blanco said.

Blanco said people shouldn't turn on the heat when they aren't home, shouldn't set the heat above 70 degrees and shouldn't leave the heat on for hours.

"A little bit, maybe, before you go to bed and then shut it off and then in the morning run it a little bit," Blanco said.

Blanco said routine maintenance is also key to avoiding what happened to Curry.

"When you start collecting too much dust or you don't change your filter enough, you lower the air flow across the heaters and then they run even hotter, and that's when the danger starts happening," he said.

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