The official celebration may have passed, but many holiday lights stay up on homes year round. Christmas lights have been around for hundreds of years, though electrical lights are much newer. Families used candles for generations to light up the holidays. But with the advent of electricity, it became more efficient and (usually) safer to use light bulbs instead of burning wicks.
Fifty years ago, most families would have kept their Christmas decorations fairly simple, with a single strand of lights. But as the years have passed, outdoor Christmas light displays have grown more and more extravagant. And as every spare inch of outdoor space was used, it became more and more common to hang extra strands of Christmas lights indoors as well.
Unfortunately, interior Christmas lights carry many of the same risks as outdoor lights, risks including:
- Broken bulbs causing cuts and lacerations
- Electrical shortages
- Fire caused by improperly sheathed wiring
A story out of Maryland makes clear just how dangerous these lights can be. Two people were killed in an apartment fire when an electrical cord was crimped under a chair, causing the chair to ignite. Neither individual was able to escape the conflagration.
Electrical fires are surprisingly common in the United States, even outside of Christmas season. Floor lamps, electronics, computers, and other devices carry a risk of causing an electrical fire at any time. Monitoring cables and power cords to make sure they are not frayed or otherwise damaged is the best way to prevent these types of fires.
If you or someone you love has suffered due to an electrical fire, a full investigation is important. Though you might have been responsible for the blaze, there are a number of other things that could have gone wrong and should be ruled out. If you suspect negligence by another party might have been a contributing factor, it is important to retain an experienced attorney to help guide you through the investigative process.