Halloween display fire prompts firefighters to issue safety tips

INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (Warren County) – Firefighters responded to a Halloween display that caught fire on Kemper Court, located in the Oak Hill Development, Thursday evening.

At 8:30 p.m. authorities were alerted by a neighbor who saw the bales of hay and lights on fire outside the residence.

An extension cord that ran under the hay bales ignited the fire, according to officials.

The fire was contained to the outside of the residence and there were no reported injuries.

Officials want to take this opportunity to remind people to be careful when setting up Halloween displays:

  • Carefully inspect each electrical decoration. Cracked or frayed sockets, loose or bare wires, and loose connections may cause a serious shock or start a fire. Discard damaged sets of lights or damaged props that can no longer be used safely.
  • Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house walls, or other firm supports to protect the lights from wind damage. Use only insulated staples to hold strings in place, not nails or tacks. Or, run strings of lights through hooks (available at hardware stores). Don’t staple or nail through light strings or electrical/extension cords – you could damage the wire or insulation, which could lead to an electrical shock or fire.
  • Don’t overload extension cords or allow them to run through water or snow on the ground. Before using any light strings, animated displays or other electrical products outdoors, make sure the product is approved by a nationally recognized certification organization and marked “for outdoor use”, i.e. UL Rated.
  • Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord. Don’t use electrical decorations or light strings on materials that could catch fire. It is important to turn off all electrical light strings and decorations before leaving home or going to bed. Follow the use and care instructions that accompany your electrical decorations.
  • Rule of thumb, most household circuit breakers are rated up to either ten or fifteen amps (you can tell by looking at the breakers themselves), and household current is generally 110 volts. Amps times volts equal the number of watts that a breaker can handle without tripping. With caution, learn what breakers protect each section of your home and label them. Don’t overload your circuit breakers/fuses.
  • For added electric shock protection, plug outdoor electric lights and decorations into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). Portable outdoor GFCIs can be purchased where electrical supplies are sold. GFCIs can be installed permanently to household circuits by a qualified electrician.
  • Turn off all lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire. Always have at least one fire extinguisher available and know how to use it. In homes with small children or animals, take particular care to avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable.

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By: Jay Edwards Follow on Twitter | Like on Facebook













(Jay Edwards | For WRNJ)