Christmas decorations contribute to increase of fires during hol - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Christmas decorations contribute to increase of fires during holiday season

E.R. Brooks and Charlene Justus E.R. Brooks and Charlene Justus
Steve McCool Steve McCool

By Whitney Grunder - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – Fire crews spent the day chasing two small blazes in Lufkin and another in Cedar Grove that gutted a woman's home.

Rivercrest/Redland Volunteer fire fighters E.R. Brooks and Charlene Justus don't know what started the fire.

They can rule out holiday decorations.

"We didn't see anything in there that would cause us to think that," said Brooks.

They say Christmas decor does contribute to an increase of fires during the holiday season.

"Overdoing extension-chords and overloading the plugs and the breakers not being able to carry the load and it starts a short," said Justus.

They say many of these fires can be prevented by following just a few basic instructions.

"Unplug your Christmas tree and your Christmas lights at night. Never go off and leave your tree on and make sure that your space heaters are off when you leave your house," said Justus.

"Don't put anything too close to your space heater that would catch fire," said Brooks.

Also, don't get carried away with lights.

"Don't put too many strings of lights together. Two or three strings is all that you're supposed to," said Brooks.

Lufkin Assistant Fire Marshal Steve McCool has seen several fires caused by decorations, many taking place on Christmas Eve.

"You have a house fire and all the Christmas presents burn up and it's Christmas Eve and frequently it's a result of Christmas decorations," said McCool.

He gives this advice.

"If you have a live tree, not watering your tree causes an excessive amount of fuel right there where the potential fire would start," said McCool.

Bottom line-- you can't be too cautious, especially during the busiest time of year.

Another reminder, change your smoke alarm battery twice a year when you set your clocks forward and turn them back.

Then, test the alarm monthly.

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