WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A space heater caused a fire that gutted a home in New Hanover County on Dec. 10.
Deputy Fire Marshal David Stone confirmed Monday that the fire on the 600 block of Kauri Street in the Blue Point subdivision was caused by a space heater in the garage. Stone said the heater was too close to combustibles.
Trisha and Bill Sturman were taken to the hospital and treated for smoke inhalation. Trisha was released the afternoon of Dec. 10, according to neighbors.
Bill was taken to the intensive care burn unit in Chapel Hill, where he remains in stable condition but breathing with help from a ventilator. Doctors are hoping he will be breathing independently by the end of the week.
After that, Bill should be admitted to a rehab hospital. A GoFundMe has been set up to help offset Bill’s medical costs.
Wendy Giannini, risk reduction coordinator for the Wilmington Fire Department, shared safety information on Monday after it was reported that a space heater was to blame.
“For any of those sorts of heaters, portable space heaters, give at least three feet around free of combustibles, so a three-foot zone all the way around free from anything that could burn," Giannini said. “That includes your socks and the chair you’re sitting in.
“If you’re using a heater that requires fuel like kerosene, make sure you’re using the correct fuel, and make sure you’re ventilating. That means open windows and a carbon monoxide alarm," Giannini added. “And if you’re using any electric space heater, or any variety of space heater, it needs to be cooled off, turned down, unplugged, all of the above before you go to sleep at night or before you leave the house.”
The National Fire Protection Association also shares safety tips on its website.