A somber reminder to make sure you use your space heater properly. Investigators say a space heater may be to blame for a fire that destroyed a Lubbock home.
It's an accident the family and fire fighters hope others will learn from.
When Victor Tanui saw black smoke rising from his neighbors home, he took action.
"I went and broke the door to see if anyone was there," says Tanui.
When no one answered his calls, Tanui began banging on the windows.
In those few minutes, one thought weighed on his mind.
"We can replace the house, but not the people who live there," says Tanui.
Moments later, firefighters arrived and learned no one was inside the house.
Within ten minutes, they put out the fire.
An hour later, renters Frank and Raquel Mendez arrived on the scene, finding most of their belongings had burned.
Investigators believe a space heater may be to blame.
"We plugged in the heater last night because it was cold, but before I left this morning I turned it off. I didn't unplug it. I turned it off," says Raquel.
And despite the loss, the Mendez family says they are fortunate.
"We're thankful our kids are OK. We're OK. It didn't happen while we're sleeping but we're thankful to have each other so everything else can be replaced," says Raquel. "We're blessed either way. We're blessed."
The Mendez family says they will simply start over but both the family and investigators urge you to check your space heaters.
Before you plug it in, check the cord for frays or broken wires, avoid using an extension cord and place it on the floor not on top of furniture or cabinets.
Also, make sure there is at least three feet of empty space around the heater.
|Lubbock Red Cross|