Christmas Light Fire A Reminder To Safely Wire Displays

By: Chase Moffitt, Lauren Squires Email
By: Chase Moffitt, Lauren Squires Email

One Omaha Christmas light display was simply too much to handle for a home's electrical system.

Just before midnight Saturday, firefighters were called to a home near 94th and Pacific streets. Investigators said an electrical circuit in the garage was apparently overloaded by too many Christmas lights and it caught fire. Someone driving by saw the fire and called 911.

Damage was contained to the garage. There were no injuries.

“I sort of get carried away sometimes and I have to stop and say, let's go simple.” Simple can certainly describe Teena Beehner's outdoor Christmas display. “I have a timer on my lights and I have it set for so many hours. She's always hoped that would prevent a fire, but late Saturday night the thought of a fire hit close to home. “Thank God it was on the side of the garage so it didn't spread too much.”

Dan Hughes is manager at Ace Hardware in Ralston and has sold a lot of Christmas lights and says Saturday’s type of fire is rare. “Most people, you have fuses in your house and you're hoping those will trip.”

But if it doesn't, he says there are other ways to prevent a fire. The biggest safety factor is extension cords. “Of course the kind of extension cords is also important,” says Hughes. “This is an indoor cord and an outdoor cord side by side. You can see it's more sturdy and it will certainly be more safe.”

Even then, he says, you want to check on their condition. “You're gonna wanna make sure your cords aren't frayed on your ends, everything is wired direct into there. You want to be careful with splicing too many cords in one outlet.”

Back at Beehner's house, Teena was following his advice. “I use the outdoor, heavy duty, I make sure that my extension cords are used for outside.”


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