HOUSTON -

Investigators are blaming the cold weather for at least three house fires around the area overnight.

In north Houston, Miguel Moreno says he was awakened by a crackling sound shortly after 11 p.m. and knew something wasn't right.

"I saw sparks and smoke coming from behind my dresser," he said.

Moreno had plugged a small heater into the wall outlet behind his dresser before going to bed. Fire officials say that outlet was the source of the fire that quickly consumed his bedroom.

"The more water I put on it, the worse it got. It got full of smoke inside and I couldn't even see. I was trying to call 911 and I was so nervous I could hardly dial and the fire kept going up and up and up," said Moreno.

Firefighters got there quickly and were able to put it out, but not before Moreno's home of 37 years was rendered unlivable.

"I would have paid it completely off in June," he said as he prepared to call his insurance company.

He has lived by himself since his wife died seven years ago and says it's a rough time right now but that's not what's important to him.

"I'm alright. You know you can buy the rest of the stuff but you can't buy life," he said.

Moreno's was one of three homes where firefighters were called early Friday.

A family in Humble was also displaced when a heater in a bedroom shorted and spread to other areas of the home. The Humble Fire Department asked for mutual aid and with HFD were able to quickly get control. The family will need to stay someplace else but there were no injuries.

In southwest Houston, it wasn't a heater, but hot embers that sent a family into the overnight cold.

"They had some embers and they put it on the side of the house in a pail," said HFD Senior Captain Mark Cummings. "It actually extended from the side of the house and up into the attic, but we were able keep the fire to one part of the attic and the outside of the home."

Houston Fire Department officials say there has not been a rash of cold-related fires in the Houston area and that the number of such fires generally is not up. The last 24 hours was just an unlucky period of time.