JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The cause of the big blaze in Belhaven in the chilly morning hours Tuesday still has not been determined.
But we know the cause of the house fire on Combs Street two days after Christmas.
A space heater in the home was plugged in with an extension cord, and the cord overheated.
Thankfully, no one was home.
The Mississippi Fire Marshal's office has investigated 14 house fire deaths since January 1.
Ricky Davis, The state's Chief Deputy Fire Marshal, says extension cords should never be used with a space heater. He also recommends we routinely inspect our space heaters for safety.
We had Davis take a look at a heater we found.
It's old, but it works.
Davis gave it a failing grade.
The wire is starting to wear out, the on-off knob is missing, and it lacks a tip-over switch.
"Numerous things could happen to cause the heater to fall. If it doesn't have that tip-over switch, it's gonna catch on fire," Davis said.
A space heater should not be left on unattended.
Also, move it at least 3 feet away from anything that could catch fire.
"A lot of people will plug it in, leave it right up against the wall so it doesn't get in the way, but that's a very dangerous place, you're just asking for it, you're gonna have a fire," Davis said. "It should be at least three feet away from any combustible materials. Never place one next to a window where you have a curtain. When you go to bed, make sure the heater is off."
Davis also says ovens or stoves should not be used for heat, and we should check on any neighbors that we fear might be using those alternative sources of heat.
We should also make sure our smoke alarms are in working order.
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