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Holiday Fire Safety

December 21st, 2009 by Mike Vasilinda

Residential fires increase between 20 and 25 percent during the holiday season, due primarily to people being unsafe with space heaters, failing to keep their Christmas tree watered, or using faulty holiday lighting. Julius Halas is the Director of the State Fire Marshalls office and says when a live tree is involved, you can never be too careful.

“A family that was having fun, had a little party, inadvertently had a candle too close to the Christmas tree,” Halas said. “It caught fire at two in the morning. The Christmas tree had fully ignited and the apartment was fully involved within about two minutes.”

Tallahassee Fire Chief Cindy Dick says people need to be especially careful with space heaters.

“Residential fires do increase at this time of year,” Dick said. “Actually from about the time you start to get your first cold snap, and much of that is related to something that we didn’t mention and I’m glad you brought that up, is the use of space heaters. Typically, that ignites quite a few fires. And one of the things you need to know with space heaters is that it is tested. They have very, very safe space heaters on the market now.”

Holiday fires claim 400 lives each Christmas season.

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