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Firefighters squelch apartment fire, urge safety during holidays

MADISON – A recent fire in Madison underscores the need for vigilance for fire safety, especially during the holiday season.

On Nov. 28, a neighbor was taking a walk around 11:30 a.m. and noticed a fire at Elements of Madison apartment complex, 100 block of Royal Drive. That individual, who lives in the vicinity, alerted the main apartment’s resident about the fire, according to Captain Ryan Gentry said. Gentry serves as Public Information Officer with Madison Fire and Rescue Department.

“A total of four apartments received varying levels of damage, and two apartments will require extensive repair to be occupied again,” Gentry said. “The fire’s cause was undetermined. However, the fire did not appear to be intentional in nature.”

“Madison Fire and Rescue, B- shift operated that fire to include all four fire companies,” Gentry said. Early recognition of the situation by neighbors helped prevent further damage, along with a quick response and the coordination by Madison Fire Department crews on arrival, and help of Madison Police Department to prevent a bad situation from getting worse, according to the department website.

Gentry pointed out that 46 percent of residential fires occur between November and March. “This is due to supplemental heating sources, more people staying at home and cooking around the holidays,” he said.

Individuals should place smoke detectors at a minimum of one on every level of the residence. A detector should be located inside every bedroom and outside of bedrooms — or multiple bedrooms if the devices are located in the same proximity.

“We encourage smoke detectors to be anywhere people could sleep . . . and the living room, TV room and other places,” Gentry said. Multiple smoke detectors are very valuable to inform people quickly about a dangerous situation.

Gentry said the holiday season is typically when more residential structure fires tend to occur, and cooking is the leading cause. People also use space heaters in the cooler months. Even a smoldering cigarette butt can start a fire, Gentry said.

During the Christmas season, candles cause more than half of fires with home decorations. The top three days of the year for home candle fires are Christmas, New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve.

For enhanced safety, only use decorations that are flame-retardant or non-flammable. Check holiday lights each year for frayed wires or excessive wear. Don’t link more than three strands of holiday lights.

In addition, never leave a burning candle unattended; battery-operated, flameless candles are a good choice .

A live Christmas tree should be distanced from heat sources and room exits. Water a live Christmas tree daily to keep it from becoming dry.

For more information, call 256-772-3326 or visit madisonal.gov, Facebook/Madison Fire and Rescue Department, usfa.fema.gov/winter or nfpa.org/winter.

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