December 12, 2006
“Accidents happen to everybody and so we're just asking you to really just stop for just a moment and think about what you're doing,” said James Barber, Albemarle County Fire Investigator.
Think about this in a matter of seconds a dry Christmas tree is completely engulfed in flames and spreading throughout the room. This is one of the most common fire hazards this time of year along with fray electrical wiring.
“A lot of times people buy lights because they are a special deal, you can get them pretty cheap, but it’s really important to look at the instillation to make sure it’s not cracked, make sure the wire’s not frayed or exposed because that's a potential ignition source,” said Barber.
Another common fire mistake could be a hazard all winter long.
A few pieces of wood were all that was left standing of what was once a shed. Over the weekend it caught on fire after an Albemarle County woman took ashes from a wood stove outside.
“People would be surprised when the wind starts to blow how the ashes that have been out for a day are still warm enough to start a fire,” Barber said.
He also suggested keeping all ashes in a non combustible container for several days, and then add water, before burying the ashes in the ground.
The woman from Albemarle County did not want to go on camera, but said she followed directions and added water. After a couple days of lying on the ground the ashes dried up and warmed up enough to catch on fire.
To prevent a fire in your home make sure you water your tree regularly, throw away those old lights and buy a newer set, and turn off all decorations before leaving the house or going to bed.