Smoke alarms roused a Westbank family from their slumber in the early hours of Thursday morning, prompting another fire department warning about furnaces.
West Kelowna Fire Rescue were called to a report of a possible structure fire just after 5:20 a.m. in the 3500 block of Old Okanagan Highway
“When the first fire engine arrived, they found no signs of visible fire and met with the residents. The residents had been awakened by working smoke alarms, that had detected a very light smoke accumulation in the home,” said West Kelowna assistant fire chief Darren Lee.
“The source of the light smoke is believed to be an accumulation of dust in the homes forced-air natural gas furnace, that caused a malfunction.”
The homeowner will have their furnace serviced by a professional HVAC contractor, to ensure that it is safe to operate and other than as startling jolt to embark on the day , they’re dine.
“With local temperatures dipping well below freezing, WKFR is reminding our customers to ensure that their heating appliances have been maintained in good working order by a professional HVAC contractor,” said Lee.
Space heaters are also something to think about. They’re not designed to replace permanently installed heating appliances and Lee wants residents to follow manufacturer’s instructions and exercise caution when using these appliances.
In 2016 the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) released a report by Richard Campbell titled: Home Fires Involving Heating Equipment.
In his report, Campbell provides statistics that highlight the number of fires, injuries and civilian deaths associated with heating equipment fires:
· Heating equipment fires accounted for 16 per cent of all reported home fires in 2009-2013 (second behind cooking) and 19 per cent of home fire deaths (second behind smoking materials).
· Space heaters are the type of heating equipment most often involved in home heating fires, figuring in two of every five of these fires and accounting for 84 per cent of associated civilian deaths, 75 per cent of civilian injuries, and 52 per cent of direct property damage.
· The leading factor contributing to ignition for home heating fire deaths (56 per cent ) was heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattress, or bedding.
· The leading factor contributing to home heating fires (30 per cent ) was failure to clean, principally from solid-fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys.