State fire marshal urges space heater safety: ‘You only have a minute’ to escape a blaze

Artic air brought temperatures in the single digits and teens to most of Massachusetts on Tuesday. As people struggle to stay warm during the cold snap with space heaters, fire safety officials and anti-poverty advocates shared advice on how to stay safe.

Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey said space heater safety should be foremost in people’s minds, especially in light of a fire Sunday in the Bronx section of New York City that killed 17 people and is believed to have started because of a faulty space heater….

Though space heaters are designed for temporary use, some people who are struggling to pay bills are using these devices as their primary source of heat. John Drew, president and CEO of Action for Boston Community Development, encouraged residents in need to apply for fuel assistance through the community action agency.

Drew said he is worried the bitter cold is only adding to what he calls an “imperfect storm” of events that could lead to increased homelessness during these winter months.