CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia residents may want to rethink plugging in that space heater. Even though the temperatures will hit below zero Monday and Tuesday nights, the state Fire Marshal’s Office is warning folks to be extra careful when it comes to heating your home.

“Fire safety is a lot of commonsense,” interim state Fire Marshal Tony Carrico said. “It’s frustrating to us, particularly with our fire death rate in this state, that a lot of these fires happen accidentally and needlessly.”

Carrico offered some safety tips Monday.

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Read the directions that come with a space heater and use common sense.

He said the first thing to remember is to make sure a generator is properly ventilated.

“They’ll pull the generator inside the house or garage or any type of enclosed area and obviously a generator produces combustion and the by-products. That’s not good! We do not recommended that,” explained Carrico.

He said generators could spark a fire or more likely emit carbon monoxide, a silent killer.

Then there’s the smaller space heaters people use to warm up one room. He stressed, they are not much safer.

“We have problems with [people] placing the electric space heaters too close to combustible products or left unattended or they’ll overload their circuits,” according to Carrico.

He said people can loose their lives by the misplacement, of what seems to be, a harmless heater.

He also warned homeowners not to plug heating units into extension cords.

Several West Virginia communities have set up warming stations for residents.

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