NORWALK - In the wake of the fatal Stamford fire and with cold temperatures predicted for the next few days, fire officials are warning those who use a fireplace to use caution and take proper care.

Officials say the most important safety tip is to wait three to four days before discarding any embers.

Fire officials say that most fireplace-related fires are due to improperly disposing the embers and it only takes a single ember to catch and spark a larger fire.

Richard Velez, owner of Westport Hardware, urges customers to invest in glass enclosures for their fireplaces, as he says they "protect you from 100 percent of the sparks." Velez also stresses that fireplace owners get their chimneys cleaned once a year.

Experts also say that a flame-resistant rug is also a good safety measure.

Fire officials stress that it is important to never leave a fireplace unattended and to make sure the house has working smoke detectors.