‘Trying to prevent tragedies’: Hartford Fire and Rescue urges fire safety around holidays

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HARTFORD, Wis. (CBS 58) – As many people prepare for the holidays and decorate their homes, Hartford Fire & Rescue is urging people to be extra cautious and practice fire safety.

This comes after the department was called to a scene that could’ve ended in disaster.

“We’re really focusing on trying to prevent tragedies,” Fire chief Paul Stephans said. “Every year we either experience it or read about it where a family loses everything and it’s such a tragic event during the holiday season.”

On December 9, the department responded to an apartment for a fire caused by a candle that was close to a wreath.

“In a unit like that, 16 units, it could’ve been a tragic loss,” Stephans said.

Before crews got to the scene, the person inside was able to put out the fire. No one was hurt, but Stephans says it serves as a good reminder for everyone.

“Candles during this time of the year are a very leading cause of decoration fires and people need to use caution,” he said. “Separation between the heat source and any combustibles, whether it’s candles, a fireplace or cooking materials, anything where there’s a heat source, they [people] should assess it, take a look at the area and make sure they keep all of the combustibles away.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association, the top three days for home candle fires are Christmas Day , New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

When it comes to Christmas trees, fires are less common, but Stephans says it is still important to take care of them properly by watering, checking the lights and getting rid of the tree shortly after the holidays.

Stephans also encourages everyone to make sure they have a working smoke detector.

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