Kamron James Stanford, the 18-year-old Adamsville teen who was fighting for his life in a hospital after being severely burned in a fire, passed away on Tuesday, Feb 7.

According to the Jefferson Co. Coroner, the fire is believed to have been accidental, caused by an electric space heater.

On Jan 23, Stanford was transported to UAB to receive treatment after sustaining burns in a fire. Stanford died two weeks later at the hospital where he was being treated.

The Alabama State Fire Marshall’s Office continues to investigate the cause and origin of the fire.

The Shady Grove Fire Department responded to the fire and was responsible for putting out the blaze.

Chris Hampton, the Fire Chief of the Shady Grove Fire Department, said that while space-heater fires increase during colder weather, the most prevalent issue with house fires is the lack of smoke alarms. With colder weather still to come for Alabama, knowing proper heating protocols could decrease the likelihood of causing a fire.

“In the winter months, we do typically see a rise in space-heater fires, so it’s not necessarily uncommon for them to cause fires," said Hampton. "The older ones are more problematic than the newer ones, but they’re all just as dangerous. The most common thing I see in all fires is a lack of smoke alarms.”

The lack of smoke alarms continues to be the greatest concern for Hampton, stating the lack of smoke alarms is a common element in the majority of fires. He further noted that the installation and maintenance of smoke alarms are paramount to home safety, although they are frequently overlooked.

“It’s a combination of different things,” Hampton said. "Between people just not thinking about it, and when they do think about it, they tend to put them off. If they’ve got them in their homes, they’re not regularly inspected, and they don’t think to change the batteries. People just kind of neglect the importance of smoke alarms in general, and that seems to be an issue across the board. It’s just something that people don’t think ‘I need to worry about it.'  They don’t think it’s going to happen in their home.”

Safety heaters are a concern for Hampton, especially later models. According to Hampton, antiquated technology and outdated safety features can make a dangerous appliance even more dangerous.

“Most of the newer space heaters have tip technology that’s supposed to shut them down if they get tipped over,” Hampton said. “Of course, they still have a large amount of heat that’s been generated on the components of that heater. So, even if the heat source is deactivated, if It was tipped, it still has the potential to start a fire. Space heaters, in general, are just dangerous.”

Hampton stated that portable space heaters are one of the most dangerous methods of heating your home.  He strongly advises against them. 

Hampton said the biggest causes of space-heater fires are “either improper maintenance of the heater, improper storage of belongings around the heater, the condition in the home itself, people accidentally knocking them over, not having the proper clearance around that heater. Space heaters, in general, are just a dangerous way of heating your home.”

“I would try to invest in central heating and air, and if you can’t do that, I would get with a company that could mount a heating system of some type in the house,” Hampton said.

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