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Look for dust or contaminants inside the pilot safety device. Blow it out with shop air or flush it with rust buster. If yours is electronic look for contaminated flame sensing device. Clean it with emory cloth and rock on.
More than likely, the heater element is overheating and the overload switch is turning it off. It could just be a case that the heating element needs cleaning. As they do become clogged with dust and lint, because they take in cool air at floor level, heat it and send it back out. You didn't mention who the manufacturer of your electric fireplace is, but they all work just about the same way (badly, most of the time). Turn OFF the Master On/Off Switch, unplug the fireplace from the wall and leave unplugged for 12 to 15 minutes. Now, would be a good time to clean the interior, if you want to under take it. Plug the heater back in and turn the Master On/Off switch to the On position. Turn ON and set the heater control. If it returns to normal operation, the problem is solved. If the unit continues to have to be reset (if it's a Dimplex) turn the Master Switch Off, unplug the unit and contact Dimplex USA, Technical Service at 888-346-7539 for more information.
I build houses and we use heaters alot in winter. What i would try first is in the back of the heater where it sucks air some have a crude filter . clean this . my experiance is that the unit is dirty and it starts blowing and hopefully lighting then whoosh goes out u unplug and wait five then plug back wham it fires agian for a nother three seconds. Its not anything much i recoment blowing air commpressor through it.
If this is an old unit you can try cleaning it with compressed air and a blow gun, blowing air forward and backwards thru the ceramic until it is clean. Please do this only when it is off and unplugged. If it is new I would return it these from Dayton are not cheap.
You can try using a compressor and blow gun and cleaning it with the forced air once front to back and back to front. There is no given number of times to do this, I do it until I have clean air going thru both directions. This is the easiest way with out taking the fan apart and man it is a fast repair for sluggish heaters.