Space heater to blame in fatal Sumter fire

SUMTER, S.C. (AP) -- An 85-year-old Sumter woman has died in a fire after authorities say she was trying to stay warm in her mobile home.

Multiple media outlets reported that Leona Hardin died at around 12:30 a.m. Monday from carbon monoxide poisoning. Authorities say a space heater had been placed too close to Hardin's bed, which caught fire.

Authorities say Hardin's son was burned while trying to rescue his mother. The son's name has not been released, and authorities say he was flown to the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, Ga.

Neighbors say they heard two explosions come from the mobile home. Capt. Brian Horton with the Sumter Fire Department says one of the blasts may have come from an oxygen tank.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Heating Safety Tips - Always read and follow manufacturer TMs instructions. - Before purchasing a space heater make sure that it is approved by UL or another independent testing laboratory.- Purchase heaters with automatic shutoff features.- Keep anything that can burn 3ft away from heating appliances.- Unplug the unit when not in use, when leaving the room, and before going to bed.- Plug heater directly into an outlet. Do not use extension cords. Kerosene Heaters- Read and follow manufacturer instructions.- Provide three feet of clearance from items that can burn.- Never use gasoline.- Refuel only after the unit has cooled completely.- Use and refuel in areas that are ventilated.

Fire place and wood stoves - Have chimney and connectors inspected annually by a professional.- Clean as often as needed.- Be sure to open the flue.- Provide a screen for fireplaces. Gas or electric furnaces- Gas and electric furnaces should be inspected and maintained in accordance with manufacturer TMs recommendations.

Carbon monoxide detectors - If you have any fuel burning appliances in your home you need a carbon monoxide detector. Fuel burning appliances include: gas stove, gas or wood fire place, gas hot water heater, gas dyer or any other appliance that is not powered by battery or electricity.

Smoke alarms - Smoke alarms are the most important piece of life safety equipment a family can have in their home. A working smoke alarm increases your chance of surviving a fire by 50 percent. Smoke alarms should be placed on the ceiling or on the wall 6 to 8 inches from the ceiling. For the minimum protection provide at least one smoke alarm on each level outside of sleeping area. For maximum protection install smoke alarms in each bedroom, outside of all sleeping areas and at least one on each level of the home. Test smoke alarms monthly. Replace batteries annually. Replace smoke alarms every ten years even if they still work.