Faulty heater causes fire in Daytona Beach home

Homeowner saw sparks from heater before fire started

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Fire officials say a malfunctioning heater in a back bedroom may have caused a fire that left two women and a newborn baby homeless in Daytona Beach.

Daytona Beach firefighters found the single-story home engulfed in flames around 5 a.m. Tuesday.

Officials say someone in the home saw sparks coming out of the heating unit just before the fire started, leaving Mildred Yearby, her daughter and her 7-day-old granddaughter homeless.

Yearby said it was the first time she's used her heater this year.

"I got up to get the baby's milk and my daughter said it was cold, so I had a space heater in the bathroom and I plugged that up," Yearby said.

The American Red Cross is assisting the family.

As temperatures drop, it may be the first time many homeowners are cranking upĀ  their heaters this year, which has caused an influx of calls to Greens Energy Services in Orlando.

Employees say they are busy with customers requesting a furnace inspection or for them to start their furnaces.

"The biggest thing is dust and keeping debris that may develop through the summer months out of the way," said Steven Thatcher, a technician at Greens Energy Services.

Thatcher said one of the most common mistakes he sees on the job is debris placed on top of the furnace, even flammable products which would be a deadly combination.

Much of the clean up can be done by homeowners, but technicians urge them to leave it to the professionals when it comes to inspecting your furnace.

Regardless of the weather, professionals recommend to have heaters inspected annually.

Technicians also urge homeowners to make sure they have a carbon monoxide detector in the same room where the furnace is located.

Copyright 2012 by ClickOrlando.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.