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107 heater-linked deaths reported over 5 years

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The death toll from fires and carbon monoxide poisoning caused by heating appliances came to 107 in Japan over the five years through March 2018, according to a survey by an independent administrative agency.

The number of such heater-related accidents totaled 1,064 in the reporting period, the survey by the National Institute of Technology and Evaluation showed.

In a recent case, seven people died in a house fire in Fukushima Prefecture on Nov. 21. Police suspect that heating equipment was the source of the fire.

With such accidents usually peaking during the year-end and New Year period, the institute is calling for avoiding putting laundry around heating appliances.

According to the institute, the number of heater-related accidents stood at 265 in fiscal 2013, which ended in March 2014, and declined for three following years before bouncing back to 196 in fiscal 2017.

The death toll stood at 17 in fiscal 2013, 20 in fiscal 2014 and 23 in fiscal 2015. The number fell to 18 in fiscal 2016, but rose to 29 in fiscal 2017. Almost all the victims were aged 60 or older. Over the five years, a total of 374 people died or were injured in heater-related accidents.

Of the total, oil stoves affected 137 people, electric stoves, 65, oil fan heaters, 54, and hot-water bottles, 46.

There were many cases in which fires were caused as people forgot to close oil filler caps of oil stoves and in which clothes and other materials were burned due to electric stoves.

An official of the institute said that it is dangerous to sleep while heating appliances are left on, while calling for paying particular attention when refueling oil stoves. The official also asked people to check whether products are subject to recalls for free repairs.Speech

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