The fourth candle was extinguished on the “Keep Your Holidays Bright” fire safety tree after a residential fire in the 3100 block of Cayuga Trail. Santa Rosa County Emergency Communications received a call at midnight on Thursday, Dec. 12 reporting smoke in the home. Crews from Avalon and Pace fire departments arrived on scene at 12:11 a.m. No injuries were reported and the damage is estimated at approximately $35,000. The fire is thought to have been caused by lights on a dry Christmas tree.

While live Christmas trees fires are not common, when they do occur, they are dangerous with an average of one in 40 tree fires resulting in death.  Residents who decorate with live Christmas trees are urged to follow these safety tips:

•              Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.

•              Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 1" - 2" from the base of the trunk.

•              Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.

•              Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.

•              Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.

•              Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.

•              Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.


Santa RosaCountyemergency service agencies are teaming up for the seventh year to promote fire safety during the month of December with the “Keep Your Holidays Bright” campaign. While a joyous time of year, cold weather, holiday decorations and festivities can create serious fire dangers. Firefighters hope to reduce the number of fires in Santa Rosa County by promoting simple, life-saving holiday safety tips throughout the month. In the first year nine candles were extinguished on the safety tree, three in the second year, six in the 2009 campaign, four in 2010, six in 2011 and three in 2012. For more fire safety tips, visit or follow us on twitter @srcbocc.