Space heaters can be really bad news

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New York City experienced its deadliest structure fire in more than 30 years this morning, a blaze that killed 19 people, including nine children. The fire was started by "a malfunctioning space heater" that was located too close to a mattress in the basement of the building, according to fire officials.

Around this time last year, meanwhile, a rental house at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and North Wayne Street caught on fire and was “80 percent involved” by the time that the Milledgeville Fire Department arrived. The 67-year-old cinderblock house was a total loss. Fortunately, all residents of the home managed to escape without serious injury.

Chief William Collier later said that, following an investigation, an electric space heater and an  overloaded electrical outlet were identified as the culprit of the fire. Collier really wanted to encourage the public to take all the necessary precautions when using space heaters this time of year.

“This time of year, we really really want to encourage people who use exterior heating sources, such as space heaters, to make sure that (the space heater) is plugged in to an (electrical) outlet by itself. Especially in older homes, it’s very easy overload the circuit the electrical work,” the chief said. “Also, make sure that space heaters are not placed near anything combustible. And, of course, always make sure to have smoke alarms and working batteries.”

Basically, always make sure that a space heater's cord is always plugged directly into the wall in an outlet by itself. Also, make sure that space heaters have plenty of "space" and not too close to anything combustible.

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