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Neenah-Menasha Fire Department warns against using ovens as heat source

Published: Feb. 2, 2021 at 5:21 PM CST
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FOX VALLEY, Wis. (WBAY) - As the winter weather gets even colder, people will be looking for ways to keep their homes cozy and warm.

Recently a Fox Valley fire department discovered one home using an unusual and unsafe source of heat.

“It’s becoming rarer to see that, but it does happen,” said Neenah-Menasha Fire Chief Kevin Kloehn.

The Neenah-Menasha Fire Department responded to a call that turned out to be a burst furnace pipe, but while there something else was discovered.

“They noticed that the resident was also using the stove as a heater,” said Kloehn. “So they had an oven door open with the stove on.”

Chief Kevin Kloehn says that’s not a good idea. Not only because of the potential dangers of having a hot oven door open, but with a gas stove it could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

“It’s an appliance that uses a fossil fuel such as natural gas or propane and you don’t want to use that indoors, unattended without any windows or ventilation,” said Kloehn.

Kloehn says space heaters are a much safer option than they used to be for those looking to add more heat in their home.

He does caution that space heaters should be kept in an open area and away from other objects, shouldn’t be left on too long or unattended, and that cords should be checked for any damage before use.

Kloehn believes people who do turn to more alternative, and possibly unsafe, methods of heat may do so because of where they live, they simply don’t know it’s dangerous, or it may be they can’t afford utilities.

“There is different programs for assistance, the 2-1-1, calling for that type of assistance, contacting maybe your city,” said Kloehn. Maybe they have some kind of grants or something for helping with paying of the utilities.”

“United Way is always a fantastic resource, calling 2-1-1 to get folks connected.... Rebuilding Together also assists with home upkeep. There’s even pockets of programs within the city of Appleton that can assist with rehabbing and fixing and helping homeowners improve their units and living situation,” said Tara Prahl, President of the Fox Cities Housing Coalition.

She says while there is a heat utility moratorium now, it will come to an end eventually.

“Once the moratoriums end there will be a lot of additional people seeking services most likely,” said Prahl. “They’ll be looking for rental assistance, utility assistance.”

Plus, because of how many people lost jobs or had circumstances change during the pandemic, some might be new to the process.

“Some folks haven’t been finding themselves in that situation in the past, they’re not sure how to access services and navigate our system,” said Prahl.

But Prahl hopes people take advantage, saying these agencies are there to help you navigate resources.

“It’s okay to ask for help and that’s what a lot of these agencies are here for,” said Prahl.

To learn more about the United Way Fox Cities CLICK HERE.

To access it’s 2-1-1 helpline to get connected with local resources you can call 2-1-1 or visit HERE to chat online.

For more information on Rebuilding Together Fox Valley, which assists with home repair CLICK HERE.

Prahl also recommends LEAVEN, another Fox Valley organization that helps households in need. Its Facebook page can be found HERE.

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