The deaths of 12 people from devastating house fires in the Upstate and the Midlands in the space of a week and similar fires across the country have caused fire experts to caution residents to be more vigilant during the winter months when home fires are more likely to occur.
In fact, fires in 1 in 6 homes are caused by faulty heating equipment, including space heaters, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.
Space heaters were behind the deadly fires in at least three recent incidents in South Carolina.
In Elloree, 86-year-old William Herbert Jones died from medical complications after saving his wife from a house fire that broke out at their home Saturday.
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Officials in that fire said although the investigation is still underway, investigators have determined the fire started from a space heater that the couple used in the back room.
In Columbia, Ned Woods Sr., 88, and Helen Woods, 83, died after an early morning house fire engulfed their home on Dec. 13.
The Woods were the grandparents of Hammond basketball standout Seventh Woods.
There were multiple space heaters in the house, which caused the fire, according to Columbia Fire Department spokesman Brick Lewis.
Also in Columbia, a 6-month-old child was killed in a fire at a house off North Main Street that broke out just after midnight Saturday, according to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.
Authorities said a space heater was in the boy's room.
In Berea, authorities say two adults and an infant died Saturday in a mobile home fire.
The cause of the fire has not been determined, and the names of the dead have not been released. The home was destroyed.
The most recent fire claimed the lives of five in the town of Whitney Saturday as investigators continue to sift through the charred remains of an apartment building in that deadly blaze.
The victims were believed to be two adults and three children under age 18.
About 50 firefighters fought the blaze, believed to have started in a first-story apartment. The fire then burned into the apartment above and ripped through the attic quickly.
From staff reports