(WFSB) – The New York Fire Marshal has said a faulty radiator caused the deadly fire in the Bronx over the weekend.
Cromwell’s Acting Fire Marshal Harold Holmes says it’s important that radiators meet “USL” standards and have an automatic switch.
“If a heater were to tip over, a toggle switch would automatically shut it off,” says Holmes.
The air coming out of the radiators can reach up to 120 degrees. If a heater accidentally tips over, the automatic switch turns off the fan and the heat stops.
Autonomous heaters cause 25,000 fires a year, officials say.
“It’s not something I would honestly think about instinctively. It seems like a safe thing to do because it’s electric, and I haven’t thought about it, ”says Michelle Kolios, a resident of Glastonbury.
Kolios has a heater and plans to make sure it has the proper safety features.
Radiators should be at least three feet from anything else and be sure to use a good extension cord, as radiators use a lot of energy.
The apartment door and at least one stairwell door were left open as the resident fled, allowing smoke to spread throughout the building.
Many were unable to escape due to the volume of smoke in the building, officials said.
“This smoke really hit me. By the time I got to the exit and had the mask on, I couldn’t even see. I thought I was going blind, ”said a resident of the Bronx apartment building.