CALDWELL COUNTY, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - As the temperatures drop, the use of space heaters will go up, but fire officials are issuing a warning after a family’s home went up in flames due to a space heater.
A space heater plus a dry Christmas tree sent a Caldwell County home up in flames.
"That's not a good combination,” neighbor Fred Prince told FOX 46. “That's a dangerous situation. Christmas trees are out anyway, and a space heater isn't all that safe to start with."
The charred house on Buffalo Shoals Rd. is now empty, melted panels cooled in the cold, but Sunday morning it was full of firefighters.
"They were lucky. I mean it was a pretty large fire and went up pretty quickly,” Caldwell County Fire Marshal Kevin Marshall said.
The family of five raced out just in time. Neighbors say the family dog did not survive, and is now buried in the backyard.
“A lot of damage throughout the home and that family is displaced,” Brown said. The fire department has seen several house fires already this year, according to Brown.
“A lot of them are chimney fires…make sure your chimneys are clean,” he says.
With an arctic blast on the way, Brown has a warning.
“It is winter time and its getting cold here…make sure your smoke detectors are working too that's our number one life line.”
Especially when it comes to space heaters in your home.
“Most people put them too close to fabric,” Prince said.
Brown says a good rule of thumb is to have three feet clearance all the way around the heater.
The Huntersville Fire Department is also joining the warning, posting a scary statistic on Facebook-- it says space heaters account for 4 of 5 home heating fire deaths, so be sure to be careful this winter.