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December 6, 2011 Previous day Next day

Home fires involving christmas trees and holiday lightsA fire that authorities believe was sparked by an electrical outlet overloaded with Christmas lights killed a father of two in Colorado, according to a report in the Daily News. The report says the 45-year-old man died after the roof of his house collapsed and trapped him inside. The entire family escaped the blaze, but the man reportedly ran back into the burning home to get a key to unlock a gate to the outside fence.

Decorative lights start 13% of Christmas tree home fires, according to NFPA's "Home Christmas Tree and Holiday Light Fires" report. (Download the free report and a related fact sheet.) Electrical problems, heat sources too close to the tree, candles and intentional setting cause the rest.

NFPA's Lorraine Carli has a few quick safety tips to consider before you decorate your home for the holidays. Learn more at

Shannon and Fire Service groups
NFPA President Jim Shannon was joined by representatives of every major fire service organization in Massachusetts at a home fire sprinkler rally in Quincy, MA, on November 3, 2011.

The Massachusetts Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) promulgated a building code for the Commonwealth and omitted the provision to require home fire sprinklers in new construction. The new code became effective August 4, 2011.

The BBRS is holding a public hearing on December 13, 2011, at 12:00 pm in the Gardner Auditorium of the Massachusetts State House (Beacon Street at Park Street). Public testimony will be accepted. If you are able to attend, please ask the BBRS to add back the provision for fire sprinklers in new one and two family homes, or at a minimum, push out the implementation date to ensure future generations will be better protected from fire.

If you are unable to attend, you can also contact the members of the BBRS by phone or e-mail. We've even drafted language you can use for your letter, e-mail, or phone call.

Join NFPA and the Massachusetts State Fire Marshals Office, Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts, Fire Prevention Association of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Call/Volunteer Firefighters Association and Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts -- all of whom support the requirement for fire sprinklers in new one- and two-family homes.

Don’t allow substandard homes to be built in Massachusetts.

- Jim Shannon
NFPA President

On Friday December 6, 1985, a natural gas explosion occurred at a restaurant in Derby, Connecticut.  According to NFPA’s investigation, a gas main may have been damaged during the refilling of a sewer excavation.  Before anyone became aware of the leak, escaping gas accumulated in the basement of the restaurant and came in contact with an undetermined ignition source.  The explosion killed six people in the restaurant, injured 12 other occupants, and completely destroyed the building.  Three people not in the restaurant were also injured by the explosion.

NFPA members can read the full investigation report.

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