The state’s fire marshal says 79 people died in fires in South Carolina in 2009, an increase of four deaths from the year before.
John Reich says all but 13 of the deaths happened in homes, with most of the blazes caused by either heating sources, or cooking or smoking materials.
Authorities say there have already been five fire deaths in South Carolina, with all of them occurring on Saturday.
Reich says he is concerned there could be more deaths as this week’s cold snap and possible wintry weather leads people to find additional ways to heat their homes.
Reich says never leave a space heater or fireplace unattended, make sure all flammable materials are kept at least 3 feet away from a heater and don’t use heaters with extension cords.
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