Holidays Bring Risk Of Home Fires

Houston officials say the holidays bring a high risk of fire, and they're warning everyone to be careful as they decorate and warm their homes.

Houston Firefighter Albert Bennett shows a mass of tangled electrical cords plugged into a single outlet. Bennett says you see it in a lot of homes as folks string up colorful lights for the holidays.

But Houston Fire Captain Ruy Lozano says if you’re not careful your Christmas could go up in smoke.

“Our Christmas trees have lights. Then we want to put lights on the mantel. And the Christmas tree is close to the mantel so we utilize the same plug. We don’t have a surge protector, we overload that plug, and once that plug becomes overloaded an arc can occur.”

Fire officials say last December, Houston had over 120 residential fires. Those fires caused an estimated $2.5 million in damage.

Jenifer Paneral with the Houston Apartment Association says the fires that happen in apartment complexes are especially dangerous.

“I think just the mere density, because you have more people living in one area versus a single family home.”

And along with faulty holiday decorations, Paneral says apartment complex managers also have other concerns when it comes to the risk of fire.

“Space heaters and burning candles unattended, or leaving things on the stove, that is many times the cause of a fire.”

Firefighters say it’s crucial for everyone to have a working smoke detector in their home or apartment.  Residents who can’t afford a smoke detector can get one for free from the Houston Fire Department. 

For links to more fire safety tips, visit  and


Christmas tree decorating and placement recommendations from HFD



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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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