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Majority of house fires sparked by heating sources this year: How to reduce the chances

Majority of house fires sparked by heating sources this year: How to reduce the chances

WEST COLUMBIA, SC (WACH)--We are just 12 days into 2018 and 11 people have already died in 7 house fires in South Carolina. According to the state Fire Marshal's Office, more than half of those fires were sparked by a heating source. With temperatures expected to drop this weekend, fire officials say it never hurts to take precautions.

West Columbia Fire Chief Marquis Solomon says his crew responded to four house fires within the first 48 hours of 2018, which is a high number for a small-scale municipality. Now he's reminding people to do their part to reduce the chances.

"Overall, we have seen an uptick in home-related heating fires. Those can be anything from space heaters to gas heaters, people using ovens for heat. A lot of those things contribute to an increase in fires," says Solomon.

Solomon says the leading cause of heating-related fires is space heaters. And space heaters need just that: space. Make sure they're at least three feet away from anything that can burn.

"Don't have anything that's flammable, be it curtains, drapes or anything of that nature. If you have a gas heater, make sure you have it serviced once a year," says Solomon.

Treat any heating source, that's not a central heating unit, like a candle. You wouldn't leave it burning overnight.

"It is a flame and a heat source so it can have the same impact as having candle burn before you go to sleep. So make sure you turn it off before going to bed," says Solomon.

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