ATLANTA -

Authorities say nine people died in Georgia fires during the first 11 days in 2013, marking a deadly start to the year.

That number includes four children who died last week in a Rockdale County house fire, and a 41-year-old Camden County man who died early Jan. 6 morning in a house fire believed to have started from a space heater.

Fire officials say that with colder weather approaching Georgia this week, people should be diligent about fire safety and having working smoke detectors.

State Fire Marshal Dwayne Garriss told WSB Radio that about 100 people on average die each year in Georgia. Last year, 72 people died in fires.
    
Garriss says that in many of the state's fire deaths, officials found smoke alarms but they had not been maintained. He says it's crucial that people make sure the devices have working batteries or are replaced with newer models if necessary.