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'You could smell the smoke': San Antonio family warns about 'hazardous' heating blanket

Paige Bourquin says her ‘CURECURE’ electric blanket nearly caught fire. Reviews show others were also burned by their experience.

SAN ANTONIO — As the cost of heating surges, many are turning to electric blankets and space heaters to keep warm. A new report by Electrical Safety First, a UK-based charity, found 42% of people surveyed are considering electric methods to cut their energy bill.

However, a San Antonio family warns some products aren't worth the risk.

Paige Bourquin says her ‘CURECURE’ electric blanket nearly caught fire.

“I didn’t realize until later just how lucky I was,” she said.

The university student sent KENS 5 this photo.

Credit: Paige Bourquin

“My dorm has been getting down to 66 degrees Fahrenheit,” said Paige. “The blanket has an auto shut off feature, so I figured it was fine to sleep with it. When I woke up, the top of my body was really cold, but down by my ankles it was still super warm. When I pulled the blanket back, I noticed discoloration. Then, I touched it and it was really hot to the touch and the wires were crunchy. So, I unplugged it and ran off to class. As I was coming back, you could smell the smoke in the hall, and it was even worse when I got to my room. A burn mark was singed into my mattress topper.”

Kim Bourquin says there weren’t a lot of reviews about the CURECURE blanket when she bought off Amazon in May.

“Since that time, there have been seven other reviews saying it has either almost started a fire or actually did catch fire,” Kim said.

A contact for the China-based company is not readily available online.

Amazon did respond to our request for comment. A spokesperson sent the following statement.

“Safety is a top priority at Amazon and we require all products offered in our store to comply with applicable laws and regulations. We have proactive measures in place to prevent non-compliant products from being listed and we monitor the products sold in our stores for product safety concerns. When appropriate, we remove a product from the store, reach out to sellers, manufacturers, and government agencies for additional information, or take other actions. If customers have concerns about an item they’ve purchased, we encourage them to contact us directly so we can investigate and take appropriate action. We also protect every purchase in our store with our A-to-Z Guarantee so that customers can shop with confidence. If a customer receives a product that is not in the condition expected, Amazon will refund or replace that item.”

According to the San Antonio Fire Department (SAFD), electric heating fires spike this time of year. 

“This year in November we got cold a little bit early,” said ‘Woody’ Woodward, the marketing manager for SAFD. “So, we want to remind people about those space heaters. Number one, you always plug them directly into the wall. You never plug them into a power strip. Number two, you want to keep about three feet of space around that heater clear of anything.”

Woodward also recommends plugging electric blankets directly into the wall. He says it’s a good idea to inspect them regularly to make sure the wires aren’t frayed. If you smell smoke or notice overheating, unplug the blanket immediately.

"You just forget that this type of thing can happen more often than you realize," Kim said.

Woodward also advises against using stoves to heat homes.

“Another big issue we see in San Antonio is misuse of generators,” said Woodward. “You should never have a generator in your home. If you are using a generator outside your house, you should keep it 20 feet away from doors and windows.”

SAFD recently launched a safety initiative called S.C.A.N. To learn more, click HERE.

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