NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The state fire marshal's office is urging Tennessee residents to follow safety precautions when using portable space heaters.
According to the Tennessee Fire Incident Reporting System, 3,440 heating fires occurred in Tennessee between 2008 and 2012. These fires claimed the lives of 41 people, injured 54 and damaged more than $37 million in property. Space heaters were involved in 78 percent of all state heating fire deaths.
Officials say portable heater fires can be avoided by taking simple precautions like turning the heaters off before going to bed or leaving a room, and keeping anything that can burn -- particularly bedding, clothing and curtains -- at least 3 feet away from the heaters.