Firing up the heater? Check these first

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MIDWEST CITY, Okla. -- When Emily Duren fired up the furnace for the first time this year, she got a big surprise. 

A wave of smoke enveloped her Midwest City home.

Duren said, "It started in the back bedroom and moved quickly. She's three and said, 'It's stinky. It smells like fire.'"

A belt on the heating unit had gone bad.

It's a common problem that can be detected with routine maintenance.

Air Comfort Solutions is extremely busy right now. 

Heat and air technicians are inspecting furnaces for bad motors, broken belts and dirty filters. 

Fire officials said they can all lead to a fire.

Midwest City Fire Department Major David Richardson said "Many times, the calls we get, had they just been checked by a pro, just looking it over, the run wouldn't be necessary."

This is also the most dangerous time of year for electrical fires and it's not just space heaters. 

Overloaded circuits and the misuse of electric cords are the major threat according to Major Richardson.

"It's not the heater that fails, it's the extension cord overheating and that's what starts the fire," he said.
Experts said most fall house fires are preventable. 

Emily Duren said she wished she had taken some extra precautions and has a bit of advice for others.

"Be careful. Be cautious. And hopefully they won't have the same situation I did today," she said.

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