Two people escaped unhurt, but fire destroyed their house on Exum Street Sunday afternoon when gasoline was poured into a kerosene heater and it exploded, the fire department reported.
Fire was coming from the roof and first floor of the house when firefighters arrived a few minutes after getting an alarm at 4:25, p.m., Deputy Chief Chris Iannuzzi said.
It took firefighters a half-hour to get the fire at 909 Exum St. under control, and they sprayed water on adjoining houses to protect them from catching fire until then, Iannuzzi said.
The residents had refilled the heater with what they believed was kerosene about 10 to 15 minutes before the unit burst into flame, they told firefighters.
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Investigators determined that it was gasoline, not kerosene, that went into the heater, Iannuzzi said.
He stressed that kerosene should be kept only in containers that say what kind of fuel is inside. Blue kerosene containers can help distinguish that from gasoline, which is more commonly kept in red containers for use in outdoor equipment and generators.