Christmas Trees Can Turn Deadly

WESTFIELD, Ind.— The Westfield Fire Department reminds us that while Christmas tree fires are not all too common, they can be deadly.  Every year an average of 240 homes catch on fire due to Christmas trees in the U.S.  And of these fires, 13 people lose their lives.  More importantly, the time between December 23 and January 3 account for forty-two percent of home Christmas tree fires.

Because of this, it is important to double check your tree and make sure you have taken proper steps to keep you and your family safe this holiday season.  Below are some helpful tips from the National Fire Protection Agency:

  • 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
  • Be sure to add water to the tree daily.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed
  • Get rid of the tree after Christmas or when it is dry.  Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home.  Check with your local community to find a recycling program.
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Westfield Fire Dept. Chief Retires

The Westfield Fire Dept. retires one of its longest serving members. According to his colleagues, his impact on the community and fire department will be seen for generations.

At a young age, Jim Cook knew he wanted to serve and protect his community. And in 1974, while still in high school, he took the first step and became a volunteer firefighter—a passion that would continue for the rest of his life. It was during these years, when Westfield was a small community of fewer than 2,000 residents, that Jim Cook proved his commitment to Westfield. For almost a decade, he served selflessly as a volunteer, responding to emergencies in the wee hours of the morning and risking his life for the community.

In the 1980s, Westfield had grown by nearly 50 percent and the growth came with more challenges. One was providing adequate fire protection for the community. As time went on, it was evident a 24-hour staffed fire station was needed and Westfield began hiring its first full-time firefighters. In May of 1985, Jim Cook became the just the fifth career firefighter to serve Westfield.

Cook spent the next 26 years proudly serving his community in many roles—assistant chief, battalion chief, diver and training officer. Chief Cook has been known for his extensive knowledge of firefighting and his calm demeanor during extremely stressful situations. One of these situations arose in 1997 when Chief Cook led the fire department as a commander during one of Hamilton County’s largest fires.

Westfield Fire Chief Todd Burtron said Cook’s experience and leadership will definitely be missed at Westfield.

“While there is no way to replace the experience that Jimmie brings to Westfield, his impact on the community and our fire department will last for years to come,” said Fire Chief Burtron. “He’s a fellow firefighter, a friend, and a member of our family—he’ll truly be missed.”

According to Westfield Fire Dept. Cook is looking forward to traveling across the country with his wife Linda of 34 years and spending more time with his grandchildren.

via Current in Westfield – Westfield Fire Dept. Chief retires.