BURLINGTON, N.C. -- This week's cold temperatures have many people turning up the heat, but fire departments have a warning before you do.
A family's home in Burlington was damaged Sunday afternoon after a fire broke out because of a heating lamp that was being used to keep their dog warm.
Jerry Fowler has used a heat lamp for the last three years, changing out the bulb yearly. He says this is one of those things that no one thinks will happen to them until it does.
"It's just all kinds of situations where fires happen and you think well that's on the news that doesn't come to my house, but there's a wake-up call it'll come to your house if you're not vigilant and pay attention to what's going on," Fowler said.
The Burlington Fire Department said the colder months are their busiest time of year. It's when people switch on the space heaters and heat lamps to keep warm.
Since December 2017, Burlington firefighters have responded to 18 fires where the cause of ignition is listed as improper use of a heating source.
Lt. Joshua Broomer says there are two common mistakes people need to avoid when using a heating device. The first is plugging the device into an extension cord, instead of plugging it directly into an outlet. Secondly, people need to keep heat sources away from anything that can catch fire by at least three feet.