I recently watched a quick news clip about a thief who tried to descend into a house in the U.S. through the chimney and he got stuck. The owner of the house lit a fire, (I wonder if he knew there was someone in the chimney) and the thief died, probably of smoke inhalation, if not literally getting cooked. To extract the body, rescuers had to break open the chimney from the outside of the house. Seriously. Yipes.
But our own Christmas could have literally gone up in flames yesterday. We had purchased 10 strands of new LED lights (I have resisted LED’s until recent versions which don’t seem so harshly bright) from a reputable department store and the crew had installed our Christmas tree while we were away on a trip. It looked fantastic on our arrival. We had also managed to wrap most of our crew presents and the tree was picture perfect. So yesterday, I was in the kitchen cooking up a storm when I heard a loud bang and what sounded like sparks and instinctively ran to the living room and the Christmas tree. Between thoughts of “where the hell is the fire extinguisher” and “OMG, all the presents could be incinerated, not to mention the house, which is only a rental, I rationalized, all in a split second, but we are well-insured, I think…” we found the set of lights that had exploded and ignited and there were puffs of smoke. We managed to turn everything off, the crew moved all the stuff in seconds and a potential disaster was averted. Yipes. Imagine if we had left the lights on when no one was nearby? I googled and it turns out that several hundred homes burn down each year in the U.S. alone due to christmas lights igniting. Double Yipes!
With so little time to futz around, we had to remove all 782 ornaments on the tree (we counted because someone asked me last year how many ornaments I thought we had on our tree), take off all the remaining dubious strings of lights), go to another more reputable department store and buy 10 more strings of now more expensive (and hopefully less incendiary) LED lights and trim the tree all over again! So the moral of the story is to be careful this and all holiday seasons, because those darned christmas lights could turn your presents and home into coal… :(