Region does not go through many cold fronts throughout the year.  A lot of electronic equipment used during this time is not given proper maintenance.

The Rio Grande Valley has seen an increase in house and building fires lately.

Today was not the exception. While heavy smoke consumed the 389 court room in Hidalgo County, an apartment complex in Harlingen was being consumed by flames.

Although both incidents are the same, heaters seem to be a found commonality.

“Our heating elements aren’t used throughout the whole year. They collect dust, lint,  a splice wire. All these things need to be revised before using them during the winter months,” explains Eric Sanchez, deputy fire marshal Hidalgo.

These combustible materials, or accelerants, are usually present in many fires.  Many times because of their proximity to hot circuits.

“You should never place them where there are any curtains, any blankets, paper material, combustible, where it can cause a fire inside your home,”  explains Eric Sanchez, deputy fire marshal Hidalgo County.

A simulation done by the national institute of standards and technology show how a spark can consume an entire nightclub in less than 2 minutes.  Fire spreads with the materials around it and the smoke that fills the room could be fatal.

“The smoke obviously is a poison, not good for you to breathe even lint and clothing fibers,” says Shawn Sniders, Edinburg fire chief.

Authorities insist in reading and keeping the manuals included with your appliances for proper use and storage.  If you require any assistance you may call your local fire department.