Humboldt Bay Fire press release:

At 3:17 p.m. on Sunday, Humboldt Bay Fire was dispatched to a structure fire in an apartment building in the 700 Second Street. in Eureka. Initial reports stated smoke was present inside of the structure. Humboldt Bay Fire responded with three engines, one ladder truck, and two chief officers.

The first arriving battalion chief reported a two story wood framed residential structure with light smoke showing from the first floor the building. The apartment tenant was outside on the sidewalk with burn injuries. Care was being provided by neighbors and bystanders. An ambulance was immediately requested. Next arriving fire companies were tasked with extinguishing the fire and searching the apartment and the rest of the building for any additional victims. The fire was located in a downstairs apartment and was quickly extinguished.

The burn victim was transported to St Joseph Hospital by ambulance.

Crews remained on scene for approximately one and one half hours to ventilate the structure, overhaul the fire to make sure it was completely out, and investigate the cause and origin.

One apartment was damaged by smoke and fire.

Investigation of the fire indicates the fire cause was clothing over the top of an in floor gas heater.

The tenant had been using the heater for the last week without problems. The tenant had left the apartment for a few hours today, returning to find smoke in the apartment. The tenant entered the apartment to locate and remove a cat and was then injured in the search by the fire. The cat was located later after the fire was extinguished, deceased.

During the incident, the Arcata Fire Protection District assisted in covering Humboldt Bay Fire’s response area.

With the change in the weather, many residents are using heaters to take the chill away.

Any heater that has not been used for some time should be inspected to insure proper operation. Filters need to be inspected and changed if needed, and exhaust vents need to be checked for obstructions. Floor heaters are especially important to inspect as dirt, toys pet hair or other items can easily pass through the grate and catch fire when the heater fires up. It is also important to not place anything over the grate of the heater or to store anything next to the heater that could fall onto or block the grate.

If you have any questions about the proper operation of any type of home heater please contact a service company that is equipped to work on your style or type of heater. If you are renting, ask your property management to have the heater inspected.