Emergency crews respond to Meridian house fire

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Two people are lucky to be alive after being the victims of an early morning house fire Wednesday in Meridian. Firefighters responded to the fire on C Street shortly after four in the morning. The two people in the Tuxedo home were able to escape with only minor injuries, and firefighters contained the blaze to one bedroom. According to investigators, it was an accidental fire that was caused by a mistake that many people make.

Scene on C Street (Photo Source: WTOK-TV)

"It appears to be that a space heater was too close to combustible material like the bed, blankets and everything," says Meridian Fire Marshal Jason Collier. He says this is a common mistake during this time of year. Ultimately, he says it's a mistake that can be costly.

"Space heaters are safe if you just use'em right," says Collier. He says that's especially true when it comes to taking care of a space heater's cord.

"You don't want to cover them with anything," says Collier. "You don't want to put them under a rug, a piece of furniture or anything like that."

That's because he says the cord from a space heater gives off some heat and this could start a fire!

"That's because cord needs to be plugged in directly to the wall," says Collier. "You need to make sure that there are no damaged areas on the cord. The cord doesn't go behind furniture that can damage the cord."

When it comes to using a space heater, Collier says there are two other major things to avoid. The first is the use of an extension cord and the second is using a power strip.

"Plugging space heaters into extension cords or surge strips is dangerous," says Collier. "They draw too many amps for those types of cords, even a heavy cord."

Finally, he says the biggest tip of all may be the most obvious, and the most ignored. It's a fire prevention tip that requires giving a space heater just what it calls for, which is space!

Here are some other space heater safety tips from the Electrical Safety Foundation International:

1. Always place space heaters on flat surfaces.

2. Do not plug other electrical devices into the same outlet where the heater is plugged.

3. Never place the heaters on: carpet, furniture, tables or cabinets because the devices can overheat and cause a fire.