As we enter a frigid week of cold weather, many are turning to additional sources of heating in their homes. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says there has been an increase in fire fatalities in the state in the last couple of weeks.  He says homes that don’t have a working smoke alarm are at the greatest risk. Another danger is the use of space heaters and other appliances to keep your home warm.  Browning says under no circumstances should a kitchen stove be used.

Early Tuesday, the Browning's office released the following emergency warning ahead of a very cold night in Louisiana:

Fire Marshal Browning has issued an emergency alert in anticipation of the record-breaking cold and freezing temperatures currently being experienced throughout the State.

Fire Marshal Deputies have responded to 7 fire investigations during the past 12 hours. These fires were in multiple areas of the State and ranged from single-family residential fires to significant commercial structure fires. There has been one reported injury associated with these fires. Fire Marshal Deputies have been placed on standby and will continue to respond in a very efficient and professional manner.

Please remain alert and aware of the following safety principles during the next several days:
*Each residential occupancy should have working smoke alarms in each sleeping area and outside of each sleeping area.
*Heating devices should only be used for their intended use. Manufacturers' recommendation for safe use should be adhered to.
*Check regularly on the family, friends, and neighbors who may need assistance during these adverse weather conditions.
*If using gas fired heating devices make sure that there is a functional carbon monoxide alarm installed in the home.

Fire Marshal Browning would like to thank the dedicated men and women of the Office of State Fire Marshal for their professional response to the increased calls for service during this holiday. He would also like to thank the dedicated Firefighters, Emergency Medical Practitioners, and Law Enforcement Officers for their unselfish commitment to Life Safety, particularly during this most significant weather event.