Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- As the temperatures drop, people are trying to find ways to stay warm. Space heaters may be an easy and cheap answer, but the Columbia Fire Department is cautioning people.

A space heater connected to an extension cord is to blame for a house fire on Ridgewood Avenue in Columbia Monday night.

According to Chief Aubrey Jenkins, 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.

Captain Brick Lewis with the Columbia Fire provided some tips to keep you and your family safe this winter season.

  • Always keep the space heater at least three feet away from combustibles
  • Do not leave the space heater unattended
  • Plug the space heater directly into an outlet and not an extension cord

Chief Jenkins said there is between $60,000-$70,000 worth of damage to the home.

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