Dog dies in St. Louis County house fire caused by space heater

File photo fire. (Photo by D. Degnan/Classicstock/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Authorities say a dog died in a house fire in northern Minnesota Wednesday night. 

According to the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office, the fire happened around 8 p.m. at a house in Grand Lake Township, 19.5 miles northwest of Duluth. 

Officials believe a space heater in the bathroom sparked the fire. While fire crews managed to extinguish the blaze, the house sustained extensive damage, and it was deemed a total loss. 

Fire officials confirmed a dog died in the fire. No other injuries were reported. Authorities say no foul play is suspected. 

Home heating safety tips 

As it starts to get colder, homeowners may be tempted to use alternative options to heat their spaces, which also brings the highest risk of fires.

Fires are more common in the winter months than at any other time of year. From 2017 to 2019, there was an average of 1,100 fires caused by portable heaters each year. While only 3% of heating fires in residential buildings involved portable heaters, they were involved in 41% of fatal fires, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. 

Here are some tips for safely using portable heaters, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency: 

  • Keep space heaters at least three feet away from things that can burn such as bedding, clothing and curtains
  • Plug space heaters directly into wall outlets and do not use an extension cord or power strip
  • Check your space heaters for cracked or damaged cords and plugs
  • Ensure the heater is placed on a solid flat surface and has an automatic shut-off, so if it tips over, it will turn off
  • Turn heaters off before bed or when you leave the room
  • Only use portable heaters from a recognized testing laboratory

To learn more about safely heating your home this winter, visit the U.S. Fire Administration's website here