Denison Fire Rescue officials said a family was displaced Wednesday night after an unattended space heater started a damaging fire inside their residence.


Fire Marshal John Weda said crews were dispatched to the 800 block of West Morgan Street shortly before 8 p.m. in response to a report of a structure fire. Weda said the two adults from the residence had taken their children trick-or-treating, leaving the family’s two dogs behind and a combination electric and natural gas space heater on inside the 400-square-foot rental property.


“There were combustibles that were too close to the space heater and whether the dog knocked something into it, or knocked the heater itself over, we can’t tell,” Weda said. “But the heater caught some of those nearby combustibles and got the fire going.”


The fire marshal said no injuries were reported and the building’s interior sustained moderate smoke, fire and water damage. Weda said one of the dogs was able to escape the structure, but the other did not survive the fire.


“It was an accidental fire — nothing suspicious about it,” Weda said, adding that the department had completed its investigation and turned the matter over to the property holder’s insurance company.


Weda said with cooler temperatures ahead this fall and winter, homeowners and residents intending to use any type of space heater should exercise caution and common sense, like keeping all combustible material at least three feet away.


“You should always turn them off when you leave the room or the house, but it’s also actually highly recommended that you don’t leave them on when you’re sleeping because people have been known to kick blankets or covers off and that can then catch on fire,” Weda said. “Please do not use extension cords with space heaters, as they draw a lot of amps that can overheat that cord, cause it to fail and start a fire. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use caution with them because they are dangerous.”