FREEHOLD, N.J. (PIX11) – After half a century of fighting fires, Steven Fitzpatrick has seen his share of house fires during the holidays.
“It’s devastating,” said Fitzpatrick. “I remember going to many fires on Christmas Eve where it was ignited by a Christmas tree in the living room. It devastates the family not only for that holiday but for years to come.”
Fitzpatrick is currently the director of the Monmouth County Fire Academy, where on Monday firefighters skipped just using words, and instead showed us what dangers can lurk during the holidays.
In one demonstration from the NJ State Fire Sprinkler Association, a room equipped with sprinklers stopped a fire in under 30 seconds. In a room without sprinklers, the room became charred in about three minutes.
Officials said you can research whether sprinklers are an option for your home.
“It’s the dryness of the trees, it’s any potential electrical hazards, plugging in too many things into a surge protector, an outlet,” said Fitzpatrick.
Christmas trees, candles and cooking are just three main culprits of holiday fires.
“In the blink of an eye, a tragedy can occur,” said Kevin Krushinski, the chairman of the NJ State Fire Safety Commission.
In another demonstration, firefighters dropped a frozen turkey into a boiling fryer, creating a huge ball of fire and black plume of smoke.
“Oil and water do not mix well together,” said Krushinski. “There is no control device on a turkey fryer to dial it down, so to speak.”
Officials said to stay focused while cooking because distractions such as kids and entertaining guests can lead to bad outcomes. It’s also true outside of the kitchen. Officials said to blow out any candles before leaving a room, don’t leave children unattended near a fireplace and make sure you have working smoke detectors in your home.