As heating oil prices hit record levels, fire officials worry that Maine households may be forced to resort to dangerous alternatives in order to keep warm.
The state recorded a dozen fire deaths last year, the fewest ever as a percentage of Maine’s population. But during the first two months of 2008, there have already been five fire deaths.
The official cause for most of those fires has never been determined, but State Fire Marshal John Dean said it’s likely that three of the deaths were related to heating systems.
Dean said high oil prices have often prompted people on tight budgets to turn to less-safe heating alternatives, such as old space heaters that should have been discarded long ago or wood stoves attached to uninspected chimneys.
Source: Kennebec Journal.
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