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Published February 15, 2013, 05:55 PM

Energy officials offer space heater guidelines after north Fargo fire

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - A fire in North Fargo has firefighters reminding the public to use caution with space heaters. The home had several space heaters, extension cords, and flammable materials and no working smoke detectors.

By: Becky Parker, Associated Press

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - A fire in North Fargo has firefighters reminding the public to use caution with space heaters. The home had several space heaters, extension cords, and flammable materials and no working smoke detectors.

Around 5:30 this morning a neighbor reported a fire at this home on 3rd Avenue North. No one was in the home at the time. The fire is still under investigation, but the department pointed to several space heaters and extension cords throughout the house as a potential cause.

Firefighters spent the morning carrying bag after bag of charred newspaper and other debris out of this North Fargo home.

Captain Tim Binfet – Fargo Fire Department: "There was just a lot of items in the room and in the house, and a lot of charred and blackened debris."

That, along with the space heaters hooked up throughout the house, have firefighters urging the public to be careful with supplemental heating tools.

With more cold weather coming next week, space heaters can provide that little bit of extra warmth, but the thing to keep in mind is that they should never be used as a primary heat source."

Paul Matthys – Cass County Electric: "Do not leave it unattended, and do not use it while you are sleeping."

Paul Matthys with the Cass County Electric Cooperative says space heaters should sit on a hard, flat surface three feet away from any combustibles.

Paul Matthys: "It's a resistive electric element that does the heating and it's a high temperature. So, if it gets close to any combustible material it could ignite it, like newspapers, paper, or furniture."

Also, avoid using long extension cords unless they are approved for the wattage coming through the space heater. Following these guidelines could mean the difference between staying warm and burning the house down.

Matthys also says to make sure you check for what is called a UL mark on any space heater. That ensures they meet the most stringent safety standards.

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