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Early morning blaze sends residents fleeing

A fire burned through this residence at about 5 a.m. Wednesday. It probably started in a space heater. Reports said everyone escaped safely.

A fire burned through this residence at about 5 a.m. Wednesday. It probably started in a space heater. Reports said everyone escaped safely.

ALBANY -- Smoke rolling through her residence awakened Tracey McCray at about 5 a.m. Wednesday, stated an Albany Police Department report.

McCray woke her 5-year-old son and scrambled out of the home at 425 W. Whitney Ave., stated an Albany Fire Department report. They made it out safe, but the house sustained an estimated $12,000 in damages, the report added.

A space heater too close to combustible materials in a bedroom started the blaze, the fire report stated.

According to a U.S. Home Heating Equipment Fires Fact Sheet from the fire department, fire departments throughout the country responded to 58,900 residential fires that involved heating equipment in 2009, the most recent year for which statistics are currently available.

The information sheet reported, "These fires caused 480 civilian fire deaths, 1,520 fire injuries and $1.1 billion in direct property damage."

Although no one was injured and the Whitney Avenue fire was quickly extinguished, fires that start from space heaters are avoidable, said Deputy Fire Chief Ron Rowe.

"Heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths. Almost half of home heating equipment fires are reported during the months of December, January and February," Rowe said. "Some simple steps can prevent most heating-related fires from happening."