MASON CITY, Iowa- The number of fire fatalities in the state of Minnesota are on the rise. According to the State Fire Marshal’s Office, six Minnesotans have been killed in fires since Christmas day bringing the yearly total to 63.
Fire officials say there are more house fires when the weather gets to be this frigid outside because people misuse portable heaters.
According to the US Fire Administration, heating your house is the cause of 11 percent of house fires and this cold weather means people are bringing out their space heaters.
Those we spoke with say people need to give their heater some space if they are going to use it saying there needs to be two to three feet of clearance around the device.
They also say to plug the heater directly in to the wall. Do not use an extension cord or a power strip.
We spoke to one local resident who says he did once use a space heater to keep warm in the winter months, but has done away with the heating device.
“I was pretty careful to make sure there was plenty of space around it and to make sure that the chord wasn’t getting too hot,” says Brendon Moe of Mason City. “I do worry about other residents having space heaters and leaving them on all day when they aren’t home. Especially if they have pets or something that could knock it over.”
Authorities also say not to keep combustibles near your space heater.