MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A New York fire tragedy was felt by Qwanesha Ward, Public Information Officer with Memphis Fire Department who said she felt the need to make Memphians aware of possible space heater dangers.

“As soon as I heard it, I was devastated, and I immediately thought about my community here in Memphis and how I need to bring awareness to space heaters here in my community,” Ward said.

Investigators believe a space heater is to blame for this weekend’s deadly fire in the The Bronx, New York that left eight children and nine adults dead.

She also said this is the time of year when the number of space heater fires are at their highest in Memphis, and safety should always be a top priority.

“One thing you need to be mindful with space heaters is that you at least keep them three feet away from anything that can burn, including pets and children.” Ward said.

Other tips include keeping your space heater on a level surface, never use an extension cord, and never leave them on when you are sleeping or leave your home.

A Home Depot manager in Cordova, Marquee Hall, said space heaters are in high demand as winter weather takes hold. He also said customers have a variety of questions about what size and how powerful of a space heater to buy.

“We’re selling a ton of space heaters right now,” Hall said. “You have to be careful. These are intended to heat a small space. They’re not intended to heat your home.”

Hall says with the larger radiant type heaters, there are features designed to keep you and your family safe.

“You want to definitely make sure you read the box to see what type of features they have,” he said. “And always look for overheat protection and anti-tip protection because those are two of the best type of features for these type of space heaters.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association, space heaters account for half of all home heating fires and the majority of fire deaths.

The Memphis Fire Department also urges Memphians to have a working smoke detector in your home or apartment.