Officials: Mobile home fire in Va. Beach caused by space heater

WAVY/Walter Hildebrand

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A fire broke out at the County View Mobile Court in the 200 block of Ritzcraft Drive in Virginia Beach, Wednesday.

Crews responded to the fire shortly before 10 a.m., and found smoke coming from one of the mobile homes.

10 On Your Side talked with the woman who called 911, and she said no one was in the house. A dog was inside, and the woman said neighbors went to the door and opened it — and smoke billowed out of the home.

At first, the dog did not want to leave the front porch, but the woman says they eventually got the dog away from the house.

Investigators believe the fire started in a bedroom near the back of the home, and was caused by a space heater with damaged wiring.

The damage was mostly contained in the bedroom, but investigators say the residents will be displaced.

According to the Virginia Beach Fire Department, space heaters cause about one-third of all winter house fires and 80 percent of all winter heating fire deaths.

If you use a portable space heater, the National Fire Protection Association provides these safety tips:

  • Inspect heaters for cracked or broken plugs or loose connections before each use. If frayed, worn or damaged, do not use the heater.
  • Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn it off when you’re leaving a room or going to sleep, and don’t let pets or children play too close to a space heater.
  • Space heaters are only meant to provide supplemental heat and should never be used to warm bedding, cook food, dry clothing or thaw pipes.
  • Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home and outside all sleeping areas and test them once a month.
  • Heaters must be kept at least three feet away from anything that can burn, including papers, clothing and rugs.

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