Fire officials want you to stay safe this holiday season

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It's been a pretty cold Christmas week, and the cold weather can lead to a heated disaster. This past week, in South Louisiana alone, the Red Cross responded to 19 house fires.  Those fires took four lives and left more than 80 people needing shelter.

"Cooking kitchen fires are number one any time of the year especially during the holidays. And there are things we have control over and some things that we don't," said Nancy Malone Public Affairs Director of Red Cross.

One thing you can control during the colder months is your use of a space heater for example. A house fire in Houma early Christmas morning killed 3 children.  An unattended space heater may have caused this preventable tragedy.

"Make sure your turning your heater off when leaving a room. If you're getting drowsy and it's late at night go ahead and turn it off, put on an extra blanket instead," said Malone.

State fire marshal Butch Browning says the number one thing you need, as he's emphasized countless times, is to make sure you have working smoke detectors.

"The safety message is real clear, if you don't have a smoke alarm you better get one. If you can't afford one, you can go to the fire marshal's website we provide free smoke detectors for people who can't afford them, "said Browning.

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