A normally more dangerous time of the year for house fires could be made even worse this winter as Missourians try to escape the rising costs of natural gas. State fire marshall Bill Farr worries more people will be tempted to use alternative sources to their furnaces to heat their homes – space heaters, fireplaces, and such – at a time when the number of house fires is already on the rise. Farr says people should make sure space heaters are properly safety-rated and should make sure fireplaces are properly cleaned before using them. He also suggests changing the batteries in smoke detectors.