1 dead after house fire started by space heater in Tampa

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A house fire in Tampa left one man dead Monday morning.

Tampa Fire Rescue was called to the single-story home on North 23rd Street around 7:45 a.m. and found smoke and flames coming from the roof.

Crews searching the home found a 54-year-old man inside. He was taken to Tampa General Hospital where he later died.

Investigators say the fire started in the living room and was caused by a space heater igniting common combustibles that were nearby.

“The space heater was next to a stack of books,” said neighbor and friend Eunice Burnham. “Old books. He collected books, so he had a bunch of old books and it just ignited.”

“He did not have any working smoke alarms inside the house, and that just is proof positive that smoke detectors save lives.  Anyone who is asleep or isn’t aware of what’s going on,” said Jason Penny with Tampa Fire Rescue.

The Tampa fire marshal urges everyone to have working smoke detectors in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. You should also test your smoke alarms at least once a month.

If you can’t afford a smoke detector and live in the City of Tampa, call 274-7000 to receive smoke detectors at no cost to the public.

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