Space heaters are great for warming up those cold places in the house, but you need to keep an eye on them.

For instance, a Mount Pleasant woman sitting in her den reading the newspaper Friday afternoon was startled to see fire shooting out of her space heater. She quickly jerked the plug out of the wall and put the appliance in the garage to get away from that burnt electrical smell.

But what if she hadn’t been in the room?

“I consider myself extremely lucky,” said Mary Yarborough, who lives in Brickyard Plantation. “If I had not been home, there’s no doubt about it; my house would have burned to the ground.”

Safety officials say her experience is not that unusual, which is why they advise never leaving a space heater running with nobody there to keep an eye on it.

Yarborough had her space heater plugged directly into a wall outlet. But a lot of people extend the reach of the appliance by plugging it into an extension cord or power strip.

Another bad idea. Extension cords aren’t designed for high-amp appliances like space heaters, safety officials say.

Read more in Monday’s editions of The Post and Courier.