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Cause of fatal fire still undetermined

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The State Fire Marshal’s office says several space heaters and multi-plug electrical adapters were being used in a home on Buckeye Lake when it caught fire Thursday, leaving an elderly couple dead.

Milton and Mary Clagg, both 62, died when the fire broke out around midnight  in the home at 13050 Shell Beach Road in Thornville, Fairfield County Sheriff Dave Phalen said.

Phalen says five other people in the home escaped.

The official point of origin and the exact cause are still under investigation but Fire Marshal Larry Flowers’ office says the fire started on the right-side of the house, in the general area where the Claggs’ bodies were found.

The Division of State Fire Marshal, Thornville Fire Department and Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the fire.

Investigators say there were multiple space heaters throughout the home and were located in proximity to combustible materials, Flowers said.

Several electrical outlets had multi-plug adapters, allowing for extension cords to power the multiple heaters and other electrical devices.

Flowers says space heaters and other alternative heaters should be kept at least 3 feet away from combustible materials.

Flowers has additional safety recommendations:

Space heaters should not run continuously and should not be used as a primary heating source.

Extension cords are a temporary solution only, and their use should be minimized whenever possible.

Do not overload outlets with multiple adaptors or power strips; relocate cords instead.

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