Newport house burns to the ground after owner leaves space heater on

Owner lit fire to prevent pipes from freezing

NEWPORT, Ky. -- Flames burnt a Newport house to the ground early Wednesday after the home's landlord left a space heater on and left the home.

The fire started at about 3:45 a.m. at the home in the 5800 block of Messmer Hill Road.

WCPO reporter Jay Warren says the home is a rental property and was not currently being lived in.

The owner, who lives in Bracken County, came to the house and lit a fire in the fireplacea and turned on a two propane space heaters in the basement to keep the pipes from freezing. He left the property without turning the space heater off.

Fire Chief Gerald Sandfoss from the Central Campbell County Fire District said the house was gone before they even arrived on scene. 

"Space heaters are one of the most dangerous things you can use in an unoccupied house," Sandfoss said.

"Only use space heaters when you are awake and in the same room. They produce a lot of heat and obviously cause a lot of fires throughout the United States."

Investigators aren't sure if the space heaters or the fireplace caused the destruction.

Either way, as a word of precaution, Sandfoss said, "They [space heaters] are heat producing devices and they can and will start fires if not used properly."

He advises to follow the device's instructions and keep the heater away from anything flammable.

"There are some people who say 'I never thought it would happen to me.' They take chances, but it happens. Everyday there's hundreds of fires, so it's happening to somebody. People will tell us, I had thought about it I wouldn't have done it," Sandfoss concluded.

No injuries have been reported.

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