WESTFORD, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) – The Department of Fire Services (DFS) is heeding a warning for people ahead of their festive festivities.
Firefighters are reminding residents to use extension cords safely and to be careful with their Christmas decorations after a fire started from an extension cord that powered Christmas lights on Friday.
The fire started in a plastic “igloo” used for alfresco dining outside a restaurant in Westford, according to DFS. Teams found it all started with lights plugged into a series of extension cords, one with wires exposed and wrapped in duct tape. There was a cord running under a door leading to the restaurant, where the friction of the constant opening and closing caused it to spark.
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Although no one was injured, Westford Fire Chief Joseph Targ and State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey said the tragedy could have happened if the circumstances had been different.
“Extension cords can be handy, but they should always be used safely,” said Chief Targ. “Check your extension cord before use and throw it away if the insulation is cracked, worn or damaged. Replacing the cord costs a lot less than replacing all the items that can burn out in a fire.
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An electrical fire, or any other type of fire, near a Christmas tree can engulf a room in seconds. Officials say to use caution with lights, cords and heaters and to make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly. Watering Christmas trees regularly is also helpful.
“If you are using an extension cord outdoors, make sure it is listed by a testing agency qualified as UL and marked for outdoor use,” Marshal Ostroskey said. “Make sure you use a cord that’s rated for the power of whatever you’re feeding. Appliances such as heaters should be plugged directly into a wall outlet that can withstand current, not an extension cord.
More information on electrical safety can be found on the DPS website.
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