MED Burn Center sees space heater burn season ignite - Mid-South News, Weather, Traffic and Sports | FOX13

MED Burn Center sees space heater burn season ignite

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

An overnight home explosion in Orange Mound sent a man to The MED in critical condition with third-degree burns covering nearly half of his body. Two other people were treated and released on the scene.

The Memphis Fire Department is still investigating the cause as of Friday evening, but witnesses near the home on Brooklyn Avenue say it was a gas heater that caused it.

MORE: Man critically burned in Orange Mound house explosion

Dr. Bill Hickerson with The MED's Burn Center said this is the time of year the hospital see numerous space heater-related injuries. He said it ranges between 50 to 75 heater-related injuries each winter.

"When you get close trying to get warm, you've got clothes that can catch on fire, the blankets you put around you trying to stay warm can catch on fire," said Hickerson.

Dr. Hickerson said the problem with space heaters is fairly simple: They get hot. He added that young children or older adults who lost their sense of feeling in their hands often receive severe burns.

First- and third-degree burns are the most common according to Dr. Hickerson, but he added that he has seen fourth-degree burns - burns that reach a person's muscle and bone – from space heaters.

The most space heater-related injuries come overnight, when the heater is left unattended.

"The main problem can be from an extension cord that you don't think about that's underrated for that particular heater so it gets too hot and it catches on fire," Dr. Hickerson said.

Newer space heaters automatically turn off when they tip over, but in older homes with gas heaters can see problems.

"Pilot light's been out, decide that it's getting cold, need light it, don't have a lot of experience with that, gas gets built up when it's inappropriately lit or there may be a leak and then there's an explosion and a fire," Dr. Hickerson said.

The MED's Burn Center promotes the "Three Feet Rule:" Keep space heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn including furniture, bed sheets, blankets and drapes. The hospital offers a variety of space heater safety tips on their website.

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