Space Heater Ignites Fire Displacing Eleven People From Their Home


UPDATED: Saturday January 4, 2014 11:03 PM

A family trying to stay warm was faced with a terrifying situation, when they said a two-year-old boy accidentally started a large house fire.

It happened in the 300-block of South Warren Avenue on the west side of Columbus.

On a cold night like Saturday, many people were doing what they could to stay warm.

The family of eleven, including nine children, had a space heater running in a spare bedroom. They said one move by a small child resulted in a large fire and a lot of damage.

“I was crying a little bit. My little brother was crying. And my other little brother, he got scared,” Ana Salinas said.

At 10-years-old, Ana Salinas had to face more in one night than many people, twice her age, has faced. She says her two-year-old brother accidentally knocked over the space heater in their house.

“He tripped over, and then he saw that fire was turned on, so he ran crying towards me and told me there was fire,” said Salinas.

She said her mother was at work, and her aunt had just left for the store a few minutes earlier. Salinas also said she and her cousin, and two younger brothers shouldn't have even been in the house. She said they were staying next door with a neighbor while the adults were away.

“We wanted to grab some coloring books and some toys for our little brothers,” said Salinas.

“I sat here for a second, and they came back running over here yelling like, 'please help the house is on fire,’” said neighbor, Milee Johnson. “I was just real sad. I told them to hurry up and call their mom so she could get home, and I kept trying to hold them cause they were all crying.”

Salinas said her mother was terrified her children were hurt in the fire. Hours later, she was still in shock, crying uncontrollably with her head in her hands.

Finally, there was a moment of relief when the Red Cross arrived.

They offered all eleven people who live in that house a temporary roof over their heads, food, and some extra clothes to keep warm.

Fire crews on-scene said the upstairs bedroom of the house was badly damaged by the fire.

With more cold weather coming, the fire chief warns everyone to use caution when using alternative heating methods, such as space heaters.

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