Berkeley officials stress safety precautions for heaters

BERKELEY, NJ — Township officials are urging people to take safety precautions with their heaters nearly a week after a five-alarm fire ripped through a Bronx apartment building and claimed the lives of at least 17 people.

A faulty electric heater – wired up to provide supplemental heat on a cold morning – is “certain” to have caused the fatal blaze, according to FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro.

“Our hearts go out to the families of the tragic loss in New York this weekend,” officials said. “As these brutally cold temperatures remain in our area. Mayor Carmen Amato would like to remind everyone of heater safety should you need it.”

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Here are some radiator safety tips provided by Mayor Amato:

  • Purchase a heater with the seal of a qualified testing laboratory.
  • Keep heater at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn, including people.
  • Choose a radiator with a thermostat and overheating protection.
  • Place the heater on a solid, level surface.
  • Make sure your heater has an automatic shut-off device to turn off the heater if it tips over.
  • Keep space heaters away from foot traffic. Never block an exit.
  • Keep children away from the heater.
  • Plug the heater directly into the wall outlet. Never use an extension cord.
  • Heaters should be turned off and unplugged when you leave the room or go to bed.

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Susan W. Lloyd