Fire safety important this time of year

POSTED: Saturday, December 12, 2009 - 7:54pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - 12:06pm

TYLER - Three house fires in just two days kept firefighters in Smith County busy.

To make sure there are no more families left homeless, firefighters want to remind East Texans just how they can make sure they stay safe this holiday season.

Firefighters at Station Two in Tyler say they stay busy this time of year, but this past week has been especially difficult.

In just 48 hours, three homes have burned to the ground and left several families with next to nothing.

A space heater was to blame for this house fire on Thursday, and the other two are still under investigation.

It's sobering situations like these that remind everyone that this could happen to anyone if they're not careful.

Each year nearly 130,000 fires are reported during the month of December, claiming more than 400 lives and injuring thousands of others.

To prevent fires, officials say keep fireplaces clean, burn fuels safely, and turn off space heaters when leaving the room.

Also those home cooked meals may add to the ambiance but never leave the stove or toaster oven unattended. With all the Christmas activities comes increased energy use. Firefighters recommend not running several appliances at once.

"If they're having breakers thrown it's time to call and have an electrician come and look at the problem," Tyler fire investigator, Tony Gumber, says.

When it comes to decorating, toss any lights or other decorations that have cracked or frayed cords, and always turn off and unplug those twinkling lights before leaving home or going to bed.

"If when you're plugging and unplugging the cords after they've been used for a few hours if they're warm, that's an indication that there's more amps drawing through that extension cord than it was designed for and probably need to size up to a larger cord," Mr. Gumber says.

While you're inspecting your home, checking the outside for hazards its just as important as the inside.

For those of you who enjoy sitting next to a warm fire while watching your favorite shows like KETK, make sure you stack firewood at least 30 feet away from your home.

So this holiday, before the visitors start filing into your home, take a few minutes to make sure it stays filled with Christmas cheer this holiday season.

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