Columbia Fire Dept. hoping you'll stay warm, but safe as well - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Columbia Fire Dept. hoping you'll stay warm, but safe as well

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Be it with a fireplaces or space heater, people in the Midlands will be doing anything they can to stay warm during the next few days. The Columbia Fire Department, however, hopes that they don't have to hear about it.

"You want to stay warm, you want to keep your family warm," said fire department spokesperson Brick Lewis.

It's natural, Lewis says, to keep your home warm at all costs. Unfortunately, it costs some families everything.

"This time of year, obviously during the winter months, we see an increase," said Lewis.

An increase, that is, of fires caused by heating sources like space heaters and fireplaces. Lewis says this year has been relatively quiet so far, but the Polar Vortex is closing in. 

On Monday morning, the Emergency Management Division hosted several agencies in advance of the arctic blast.

"This is a very unique situation," said Steven Naglic. "We've been in the teens before, but this is the first time we've had the intense winds to come along with that cold air."

That means heaters will fire up across the Midlands. Lewis reminds, you should keep yours at least 3 feet away from anyhing that could catch fire, and turn it off when you turn in.

"It's too much of a risk, whether it's a short in the wiring or the heating source itself," said Lewis.

And those Fireplace ashes should be completely soaked before you throw them out. One fire in late November started from ashes that weren't probably soaked in water before a resident put into a plastic ben on a wooden deck.

"It burned through the plastic and ignited the deck, which resulted in several apartments catching fire," said Lewis.

Luckily, no one was hurt. Firefighters are hoping for similar luck as record-setting weather closes in.

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