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      Red Cross responds to 26 house fires this week

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) -- The American Red Cross Palmetto SC Regional has responded to 26 house fires this week and provided disaster relief assistance to 106 individuals, according to a release.

      The Red Cross provided families with comfort kids including personal hygiene items and funds for lodging and food.

      "With an expected cold snap this week we may see an increase in home fires," said Louise Welch Williams, regional chief executive officer, American Red Cross, Palmetto SC Region. "We need the community's help with not only prevention of home fires, but with our efforts to help victims of fires."

      With more cold weather on the way for the state and heating systems running at full force, officials said many people may be turning to other sources to help keep their homes warm.

      Here are some fire safety tips from the Red Cross:

      • Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.
      • If you are using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away - things such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs. Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
      • If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
      • Use generators correctly - never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage.

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