The week before Christmas, my tree is completed, our stockings are hung, but the Christmas Spirit in our neighborhood has been overshadowed by our neighbors who's house burned down on Monday night. I can still see the intense flames bellowed by the wind, growing and spreading from their garage into the main house.
Fire spreads fast, no doubt about it.
As the fire burned, their Christmas lights freakishly turned on. Flames, lights and chaos filling the night air. Crackling fire, soothing at the right time, has left an echo in my mind, reminding me of the power which fire possesses. Horror and disbelief was evident on the faces of those who were displaced from their home, less than 2 weeks before Christmas. We often hear about fires caused by Christmas lights, never believing that it could happen to us.
This year, like every year, I put my plastic candle sticks in the windows, just as my neighbor told me he has done for 15 years. At our house, we have single white lights in each window, simple, elegant and beautiful. Nothing worse than not having all the bulbs lit, some were blown from last year and I had forgotten to pick up replacement bulbs. Patience is not a strong suit for me, it's something I constantly need to remind myself to work on. The night I put the candles in the window, I was impatient, I wanted all lights to be working to complete the look.
I checked our bulb supply and found 2 flickering candle like bulbs, they had the right size base to fit into the stick. I put them into the candle sticks on Sunday night, just before I went to bed. The candles are sensitive to light and darkness, turning themselves on and off with each passing night and day. I pulled the shade down past the candle sticks so that the ambient light from our room didn't turn off the candle lights in my windows.
After the fire, I noticed the lights in the window behind the shade; the lights looked bright and were flickering. Worried about fire, especially with the image of the fire across the street so fresh in my mind, I checked the bulbs. The bulbs were touching the shade and those bulbs, they were very hot. The shade was hot. I pulled the plugs and made a note to myself to never put the wrong sized bulbs into anything, even if they appear to fit.
My neighbors, the fire to their home, just could have helped save our home by giving me the thought to check my bulbs.
Have you checked your bulbs lately? Is your house safe from fire this holiday season?