Space heater likely cause of massive Thomasville house fire

THOMASVILLE, N.C. -- Thomasville Fire Marshal Rocky Watts says the most likely cause of the fired that destroyed a 1920s home last week was a space heater. Watts told FOX8 Wednesday that they could not rule out a space heater being too close to things that easily caught fire.

The large home on Mock Street went up in flames causing nearly total damage to the structure. Fire officials say this time of year people need to be extra careful when using space heaters.

"We recommend that you keep it three feet away from any combustibles which include couches, draperies, towels. It's not designed to dry clothes or dry towels it's designed to heat a small space," said Dwayne Church, assistant fire chief with the Greensboro Fire Department.

Church says space heaters are responsible for more than 25,000 fires in the United States each year. "This could be a matter of life or death," Church said. He also says you should never use an extension cord with a space heater.

"One thing we highly recommend is if you're going to use a space heater, before you plug that space heater into an outlet, make sure that your smoke alarm is working, make sure that that CO alarm is working and we would recommend using an electric space heater before you use a kerosene heater or any kind of fuel," Church said.

Fire officials say space heaters send 6,000 people to the emergency room with injuries every year.