Columbia, SC (WLTX) - A space heater appears to be to blame for a house fire that destroyed a Columbia home.

The fire happened on Ridgewood Avenue, which is off Monticello Road.

We're told the family left their home only for a short while, and when they returned, their home was on fire.

Fire officials say the home is a total loss.

Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins said everyone should turn off their space heaters when they leave their homes, even for a short amount of time. Jenkins said the fire was started because the space heater was plugged into an extension chord..

He adds that if you are going to use a space heater, you must plug it into the wall directly, and always unplug it when you leave the house.

The American Red Cross is helping the family have a temporary place to live.