Portable heater causes BC town home fire

Submitted photo by Twin Cities Fire Wire

Submitted photo by Twin Cities Fire Wire

A three alarm fire at a town home in the  7200 block of Perry Court in Brooklyn Center started due to a portable heater that malfunctioned, Fire Chief Lee Gatlin said Monday.


The fire was reported at about 5:30 p.m. Jan. 4.

The resident of the town home was able to safely get outside through the front door, Gatlin said.

The first Brooklyn Center firefighters at the scene tried to enter the town home through the open front door, but the heat and smoke were too strong, Gatlin said.

They moved to the back of the home, where heat and smoke were coming out of the basement windows, he said.

Firefighters controlled some of the blaze, but then noticed blue flames caused by natural gas in the home.

They were able to quickly turn off the natural gas and continue to control the fire, Gatlin said.

In addition to Brooklyn Center crews from Brooklyn Park, West Metro Fire District, Fridley, Columbia Heights and Robbinsdale assisted at the scene.

One Brooklyn Center firefighter suffered a minor burn on his hand, but was back at work Monday, Gatlin said.

Crews were at the scene of the fire until 8:15 p.m. Jan. 4.

The Hennepin County Fire Investigation Team completed the investigation and determined a malfunctioning heater coil in the portable heater was the cause of the fire.

The basement of the town home was destroyed and there was heat and smoke damage on the first and second floor, Gatlin said.

There was smoke damage in two neighboring town homes, he said.

The portable heater was plugged into an extension cord, which Gatlin said is a fire hazard as well.

Portable appliances should be plugged directly into the wall because they draw more power than an extension cord can supply, he said. That could cause the cord to melt and start a fire, he said.




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