Space heater malfunction claims the lives of two Chattooga Co Men
A house fire that claimed the life of two people in North Georgia, has been ruled an accident.
Fire crews responded to 9th Street in Trion, Georgia, in Chattooga County, just before 5 Monday morning.
They found 22-year old Christian Pruitt and 50-year old Fladio Lopez, unresponsive inside. Investigators are blaming the blaze on a space heater.
"When firefighters arrive the house was fully involved," said Dwayne Garriss, Georgia State Fire Marshall.
As investigators searched the home, they found the electric space heater had malfunctioned.
94 people have died this year alone from house fires in Georgia and officials say that number could rise as the temperatures continue to drop.
"Heating equipment is one of the leading causes of house fires," said Garriss.
But that doesn't stop folks from buying the heaters. Kyle Burriss at Ace Hardware says they sell out every year.
"As soon as it's cold enough for jackets, they'll be coming in for space heaters," said Burriss.
Some that you find on the shelves have safety features.
"If it tips over it shuts off, some of them if it gets too hot it shuts off," said Burriss.
But he says you still shouldn't leave the device turned on while you're asleep.
"I wouldn't leave them on for a prolonged period of time. When you get to a comfortable temperature, put a jacket on and cuddle up. Because it's better to be cold than run the risk of some kind of safety caution," said Burriss.
The home in this morning's fire did not have a working fire alarm.
You are encouraged to change the batteries in your smoke detector if you haven't already. If your smoke detector is over 10-years old, you should replace the entire device.