N.C. home destroyed after gasoline used to fuel kerosene heater

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — A fire destroyed a Durham home after officials say the residents put the wrong fuel in a space heater in the home on Sunday.

At 4:25 p.m. the Durham Fire Department was dispatched to a structure fire at 909 Exum Street.

On arrival, firefighters reported heavy fire and smoke from the roof and first floor of a home that also had basement. All residents were out of the house when firefighters arrived.

Homes on both sides of the burning house were protected with water while the fire was knocked down, officials say. It took about 30 minutes to get the fire under control.

Residents told firefighters they had refilled a kerosene heater about 5-10 minutes before what “the residents called an explosion,” officials said.

“The investigation found that the kerosene heater had been re-filled with gasoline instead of kerosene. Fortunately, no one was injured, but the house and contents were completely destroyed,” said Chris Iannuzzi, Durham Deputy Fire Chief

The American Red Cross is assisting the two adult residents.

Thirty-one firefighters responded to the call, and crews were still on the scene at 7 p.m. overhauling the structure.

Iannuzzi gave this advice for people who rely on kerosene heaters:

“Always use a container that is marked “Kerosene”, and always make sure you are purchasing kerosene when you fill that container. Blue kerosene containers help make it easy to distinguish between kerosene stored for use in heaters and gasoline that is often stored for use in lawn mowers and generators,” he said.

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