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Sycamore, DeKalb fire officials report only one holiday-related fire

January 4, 2019

Between Sycamore and DeKalb, only one light bulb changed from red to white as part of the Red Wreath Program to remind people to be aware of holiday-specific fire hazards.

The Sycamore Fire Department changed only one bulb on the wreath from red to white on the red bulb-decorated wreaths that was hung up on their station for the second year in a row. There were no injuries and minimal property damage.

DeKalb Interim Fire Chief Jeff McMaster said he was glad to report that not a single red light changed to white for the DeKalb department.

“Even though we had incidents, none of them involved holiday things,” McMaster said. “So we’re happy about that.”

McMaster said that’s been the case for about five years. He said he attributes the lack of holiday-related calls to good public education and tha fire officials have kept busy talking to people about how to properly keep trees fresh, cooking safety, candles safety and electrical issues, including space heater safety.

“It’s really helped us to maintain awareness in the community, which has been paying off greatly,” McMaster said.

Although there was one holiday-related fire in Sycamore, fire officials said in a department news release they would like to commend everyone in Sycamore for paying attention to holiday safety. Sycamore firefighter Ian Wheeler was not immediately available for additional comment.

Last year was the first time in more than 10 years the Sycamore department had to change out a red bulb for a white one, signifying that it had to respond to a holiday-related fire.

There were 302 requests for emergency service in Sycamore, according to the news release. Of those requests, 252 were for emergency medical services responses, 24 motor vehicle accident responses and 26 non-holiday fire related responses.

In DeKalb, there were 679 requests for emergency services, with 494 of those being emergency medical calls and 185 being non-holiday related fires and other types of hazards.

McMaster said city fire officials will now shift their focus to more general winter safety, including space heater safety and educating the public to avoid using blow torches to thaw out frozen pipes. He said fire officials also move on to make the community aware of retention pond and ice safety.

“But shoot, it’s been a mild winter, so we haven’t had to worry about that,” McMaster said.

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