Vagrants possibly responsible for Scottsdale apartment fire

Posted: Updated:

Scottsdale Fire responded to an apartment fire at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 10 in the 3200 block of North 66th Street. Crews arriving on scene found a working fire in the living room area of one of the vacant units of a four-plex. The fire was under control in about 9 minutes and there were no civilian or firefighter injuries reported.

Scottsdale Fire Investigators have ruled the fire to be accidental. The damage to the apartment was extensive but a dollar estimate was not immediately available.

There was evidence that transients, using the unit as shelter, had been burning small illegal fires to stay warm.

This apartment was also not protected with automatic sprinklers, which allowed the small fire to get out of hand and cause significant damage to the structure.

This winter, as many Americans turn to alternative sources to offset rising home heating costs, it is important to take note of the following safety practices to minimize the risk of fire and serious injury.

Keep things that can burn, such as paper, bedding or furniture, at least three feet away from heating equipment.

Plug your electric-powered space heater into an outlet with sufficient capacity and never into an extension cord.

Turn off space heaters in unoccupied areas. Portable space heaters are also easy to knock over in the dark, so they should be turned off when you go to bed.

Open the fireplace damper (flue) prior to lighting and make sure it remains open until the embers have completed stopped burning.

Use only dry, seasoned wood in the fireplace to avoid the build-up of creosote, an oily deposit that easily catches fire and accounts for most chimney fires.

Use only paper or kindling wood, not a flammable liquid, to start the fire.

&bspMake sure your fireplace has a sturdy screen to prevent sparks from flying into the room.

Have your chimney inspected annually, and cleaned as necessary, by a professional chimney sweep to ensure it is clear of obstructions and creosote.

To guard against the build-up of deadly carbon monoxide in the home, make sure fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside, that the venting is kept clear and unobstructed, and that the exit point is properly sealed around the vent.

Use chimineas, outdoor fireplaces and fire pits outdoors only and at least 10 feet away from the home or anything that can burn.

&bspInspect all heating equipment annually, and clean as necessary.

&bspTest smoke alarms monthly and replace the batteries at least once a year.

Install a carbon monoxide alarm in a central location outside each sleeping area and test regularly.

To learn more about keeping you and your family safe, visit .