Space heaters are being blamed for two devastating house fires in the Valley that left people without homes early Friday.

The owner of a Braceville home believes fire spread from an electric space heater, while residents of an East Palestine home say a propane gas heater ignited in their living room.

The Electrical Safety Foundation International, ESFI, the lead organization in promoting electrical safety in homes, says that placing space heaters on level or flat surfaces is necessary because the proper placement of space heaters is critical.

The National Fire Protection Association adds that you should use gates to create a "safe zone" of at least three feet around your space heater, to keep kids and pets a safe distance away.

• Keep anything that can burn at least three-feet (one meter)away from heating equipment,like the furnace, fireplace, woodstove, or portable space heater.

• Have a qualified professional install stationaryspace heating equipment, water heaters or centralheating equipment according to the local codesand manufacturer's instructions.

• Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stopsparks from flying into the room. Ashes should becool before putting them in a metal container. Keepthe container a safe distance away from your home.

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