Firehouse wreath promotes safe holiday

By Teresa Herriman

The Courier-Herald

The wreaths decorating the outside of local fire houses throughout Bonney Lake and Lake Tapps represent more than holiday spirit. They are part of East Pierce Fire and Rescue's third annual Keep the Wreath Red campaign to promote a fire-safe holiday season.

Through the new year, each of the district's staffed stations will keep a wreath on display, decorated with clusters of red lights. Should the community experience a holiday-related fire, a red bulb will be replaced with a white one.

The goal is to raise awareness of dangerous house fires and keep the wreath decorated with as many red bulbs as possible.

Already there is one white bulb on the wreaths. The incident occurred at a Bonney Lake home nearly two weeks ago. It involved a candle that was knocked over, igniting wrapped packages and other decorations in the area, said East Pierce Assistant Fire Chief John McDonald. There was no significant injury and the fire was confined to the Christmas tree and presents, he reported.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, candle fires are more common in December because more people use candles as decorations during the holidays. In four out of 10 candle fires, the association found that candles had been left unattended, abandoned or inadequately controlled. In a quarter of the fires, an item was left too close to the flame. Nearly half of all home candle fires start in the bedroom.

"We've been really fortunate over the last few years," McDonald said. "We've had very few holiday-related fires."

He hopes residents remain diligent, he added. It's not a matter of if the community's luck runs out, but when.

Teresa Herriman can be reached at

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