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Gas Disruption Has Many Looking At Backup Heating - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Gas Disruption Has Many Looking At Backup Heating

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Xcel is giving its customers in Northern Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin the all clear tonight after thousands were asked to help conserve gas after a TransCanada pipeline ruptured and burst into flames over the weekend.

The company asked customers to set the heat down to 60 degrees, a temp many say was too cold to turn to. So if you were caught off guard in the winter cold wondering how to warm up when the power or heat go out we asked what people should do.

Firefighters say appliances that aren't made for heating sources, shouldn't be used as such. That includes ovens and homemade items.

"Homemade contraptions like that are accidents waiting to happen." says Fargo Fire Captain Ryan Viergutz.

If needed electric heaters could be used, but users are cautioned to keep an eye on them to prevent accidents.

"We just want to make sure people use them safely." Captain Viergutz says, "Use one that has tip protection, that has been lab tested so if it does get hit by a child or a pet or what have you and it tips on the floor it shuts off."

Some people worry if it's not the gas that's off but the electricity what they should use. Firefighters say that's why people should prepare before winter storms hit.

"I have a generator that sits outside my house," says Mike Anderson, "that one runs on natural gas, but if we loose electrical power it's on an automatic switch so within 7-10 seconds it'll start up."

If both the gas and power goes out many people would be left stranded without any heat source. Fargo Firefighters say that's when it'd be smart to leave and use a neighbor or friends home who has a working fireplace, or a backup generator.

"You really need to have some type of supplemental power source of your own, or just leave the premises and go to a family friend or relative that has something like that available."

Firefighters say the improper use of heaters causes a number of fires around the area each year. They hope people take the precautions they share to help reduce that number.

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