NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The American Red Cross said it assisted two families displaced by a three-alarm fire in the Bronx during the snowstorm.

Red Cross volunteers provided relief to 12 people who were left out in the cold after a fire destroyed several homes at 1228 College Avenue.

The displaced families were given blankets, clothing, and water.  The Red Cross also assisted them with emergency lodging.

Extreme cold can increase the risk of home fires, according to the Red Cross.  The non-profit group released a host of home heating safety tips following the College Avenue fire.

The Red Cross said residents should keep any potential sources of fuel such as paper, clothing, bedding or rugs at least three feet away from space heaters, stoves, or fireplaces.

Portable heaters and fireplaces should never be left unattended. Turn off space heaters and make sure any embers in the fireplace are extinguished before going to sleep or leaving home.

If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and non-flammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs or carpets or near bedding or drapes. Keep children and pets away from space heaters.

You can keep fire in your fireplace by using a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.

You should never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home, the Red Cross said.

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