CAPE CORAL, Fla.- An electric extension cord/surge protector sparked a fire under a live Christmas tree in a home in the southwest Cape on Tuesday evening. The fire caused $75,000 damage.
Cape Coral Fire Marshal John Maher arrived on scene and determined the cause of the fire was accidental. The fire started in the living room around the electrical extension cord/surge protector placed under a live Christmas tree. The City’s building inspector and LCEC also responded, and the home was red-tagged and the electric meter pulled. The Red Cross arrived and assisted with housing arrangements for the two adult homeowners.
Cape Coral’s Building Official Paul Dickson reminds Cape homeowners to exercise caution when using live trees and electric lighting.
“Many Cape Coral homes were built prior to the changes in the National Electric Code that now require an Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter on electrical outlets,” said Dickson. “These devices detect electrical arcs and disconnect power before the arc can start a fire.”
Regardless of whether homeowners have a live or artificial Christmas tree, Cape Coral Fire and Building officials advise homeowners to turn off Christmas lights before leaving the home or going to bed. Keep a fire extinguisher available and make sure all smoke detectors are functioning.
No one was home at the time of the fire but the family can’t stay there. The Red Cross is putting them in a hotel for now.