Two die in suspected space heater house fire

Two people are dead after a house fire, in Detroit. The victims lived in the basement and were using a space heater to stay warm.

A couple is killed in a house fire in northwest Detroit and it's possible space heaters are the cause of the fire.

The two killed in the basement were a 65-year-old man and his 58-year-old girlfriend. The man's nephew who owned the home and also lived there escaped the fire.

Neighbors watched him attempt to re-enter to save the couple.

"The house was smoking and the other guy who stayed here was trying to get in," said one neighbor. "But he couldn't get in. The fire department came quick . They were trying to get in and they couldn't. And we lost two people."

Detroit fire made a quick response and found the couple near a kerosene heater.

"The fire fatalities we had today, it possibly could be a space heater," said Capt. Chris Dixon.

Kerosene heaters feature various risks.

"The kerosene type you have to make sure you use 1K grade kerosene," Dixon said. "If you use gasoline to a kerosene heater it could explode."

A Kerosene heater needs ventilation, it will produce carbon monoxide.  The couple may have died from the odorless gas.

Fire officials say to never refuel a hot kerosene heater inside and keep it at least three feet away from furniture, curtains, papers, clothes, or bedding.

And children and pets should never be near a kerosene heater. In fact this family’s dog was also killed in the fire, but like the couple.

For now the cause of death is unknown. Detroit Firefighters also warn that any electric space heater should have a shut off feature in case it tips over.

There was a working furnace and electricity in this house on Mark Twain. There was also a smoke detector, but tragically the smoke detector had no batteries.

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