SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The holiday fire season looks to be a hot and hectic one for the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire Department.
In just November alone, firefighters responded to 70 housefires throughout the city.
“The holiday season is generally one of one busiest times of the year other than July for these fires,” explained Sac Metro Fire Captain Parker Wilbourn.
One of the most symbolic items of Christmas can also create some of the deadliest housefires.
Christmas trees account for 160 U.S. house fires per year and cause about $10 million in property damage making daily watering and constant supervision a must.
“Space heaters, keep those space heaters away from those trees at least three feet,” Wilbourn advised.
“Christmas lights that are either damaged or old, candles, cats, puppies have chewed the wiring to the lights, the tree being knocked down by kids or pets,” added arson investigator Steven Johnson.
While Christmas trees and candles take the top spot for holiday fire danger, there are many other dangerous things homeowners do when the temperature drops.
“We had a fire yesterday where the coals from a fireplace, what he thought were cooled off, he then put them in the garbage can which then caught the garbage can on fire and then extended to the house,” Johnson recalled. “Once we determine how the fire started, we tell them and they go, ‘Oh my gosh, I knew better.’”
On Wednesday, 21 lateral firefighters from across the region are putting their skills to the test during a live two-story house fire demonstration.
“They come in with a bottom-level expectation of training and we show them our equipment,” explained Sac Metro Fire Drill Master Jordan Oakes. “We do have a general standard of expectation in training, and we stick to that and improve as time goes on.”
Video showed what is left after a tree goes up in flames inside of a small apartment or a small home.
The fire department stressed to residents that if they see something, say something.
If anyone sees flames inside a home or if there’s smoke coming out, they are asked to call the fire department because they can respond in as little as 4-5 minutes and that can mean the difference between life and death in certain situations.
Wilbourn said they are also looking for more female recruits to join the fire department and diversify the team with as many eligible candidates as possible.