Careless Errors Lead to Holiday House Fires

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Keeping the Christmas tree away from the fireplace may seem like a simple task, but it is surprising how careless errors can lead to many house fires during the holiday season.

In fact, December is the busiest time of the year for firefighters.

Wintertime fires often begin when space heaters have been placed too close to things that are flammable, like paper or bedding. The rule is to make sure the heater is at least three feet away from anything combustible.

"Even though it's not touching it, it will get that piece of material to it's ignition temperature, with that being the point it will instantly catch fire," said Albert Bennett, firefighter of the Houston, Texas Fire Department.

Many house fires originate from candles. Make sure lit candles are not left unattended. Don't let them burn for longer than three hours at a time. Also, only use candles that have a low center of gravity, because tall candles tip over too easily, and when they do, fire could spread throughout the entire house.

"It just takes the flame the size of my finger nail to burn down a home," said Elizabeth Ferrer, program director of juvenile fire stoppers. Fire doubles in size every thirty seconds."

Overloading electrical outlets with too many strands of Christmas lights is one of the chief causes of house fires.

"What you have right here is called electrical octopus, where you are putting as much in one wall socket as possible," Bennett explained. "What you want to do is make sure that this wall socket has a fail safe on it. Most of them that plug directly into the wall don't, so that's why we are going to use a power strip."

If the power strip is overloaded, it will shut itself off before the problem reaches the outlet.

If space heaters, candles or strings of lights are used in your home during the winter time, you should take the necessary precautions to protect your home and your family.

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Lorie  Johnson

Lorie Johnson

CBN News Medical Reporter

Lorie Johnson reports on the latest information about health and wellness. Since medicine is constantly changing, she makes sure CBN News viewers are up-to-date on what they need to know in order to live a healthy life.  Follow Lorie on Twitter @LorieCBN and "like" her at Facebook.com/LorieJohnsonCBN.