Christmas lights start blaze

Contributed by editor on Dec 10, 2004 - 12:52 PM


A home was seriously damaged by fire earlier this week after a set of Christmas lights overheated.

Kent Fire and Rescue are warning of the dangers of Christmas lights following a  blaze near Canterbury.

Firefighters believe the most likely cause was external Christmas lights which ignited the contents of a shed – causing a fire that quickly spread to the adjoining house itself.

It is thought the lights had been left o­n for more than 24 hours.

Thanet Station Commander Peter Davies said: “There was significant damage to the property and the shed was destroyed but it could have been much worse. If the fire had spread to the roof it could have also ignited the thatched roof of the property next door which would have been disastrous. The Christmas lights were plugged in to the outside shed and had been left o­n all day and night. o­n investigation, there is a significant chance the fire started from the lights’ control box which overheated and set fire to the dry leaves and shelf o­n which it lay.

Head of Community Fire Safety Stuart Skilton said: “Incidents like this are unfortunate for those involved, especially at this time of year. To reduce the risk of fire in your home, here are some easy-to-follow yet valuable tips o­n how to stay safe during the festive period.â€?

• Fit, maintain and regularly check smoke alarms in your home – it could save your life
• Check your tree lights conform to the British Standard. Never leave them o­n continuously and switch them off at night
• Don’t place candles near your Christmas tree or furnishings and don’t leave them burning unattended
• Make sure family and friends know your fire escape plan in the unlikely event of fire
• Decorations can burn easily – don’t attach them to lights or heaters
• Never overload electrical sockets
• Be safe – the risk of accidents, especially in the kitchen, is greater after alcohol is consumed
• Never leave cooking unattended
• Store fireworks safely
• Make sure cigarettes are completely extinguished before going to bed
• Keep candles, matches and lighters out of reach of children
• Check o­n elderly relatives and neighbours – make sure they are fire safe

For more information log o­nto or call the Community Fire Safety team o­n 01622 698360.