The Reminder is making its archives back to 2003 available on our website. Please note that, due to technical limitations, archive articles are presented without the usual formatting.
Fire Chief Jim Petrie wants to make sure that fire doesn't turn the best time of the year into the worst for residents. Petrie is asking residents to be extra cautious throughout the holidays, a time when fire hazards are on the increase. Of concern to him are candles, a holiday staple in many homes that too often results in fires. "If you're going to burn a candle, stay in the room with it," said Petrie, "especially if you have kids or pets. Anything can happen, and once it happens, it's too late." During his years as a firefighter, Petrie has seen numerous fires that began with a candle. "The vast majority have started from someone leaving the candle unattended," he said. Fires can easily result, Petrie said, when a candle either tips over or is accidentally knocked down. He said that some candle stands can break or even burn, causing a once tiny flame to spread to a full-fledged fire. The fire chief also reminds people to make sure their candles are not lit near combustibles such as ornaments, walls, drapes and Christmas trees. Petrie also advises that people be careful not to overload their circuits with lights, and to ensure that their extension cords are in excellent shape and not taped up. "Nobody wants to see a family at Christmastime having to leave their homes due to a fire," commented Petrie.