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New Brunswick fire department provides holiday fire safety tips

Following fires in Saint John and Fredericton, the Saint John Fire Department is providing tips over the holiday season to keep fires away from homes.

According to the fire department, power splitters, power bars and extension cords have become prime suspects for fire hazards over the holiday season.

“People trust the electrical equipment that they used,” said Roy Nolan, the Saint John fire investigation captain.

“They have to be very extremely careful with electrical equipment, follow all manufacturer’s instructions. It doesn’t matter if it’s an extension cord, a power bar, or a three- or six-way splitter.”

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The winter months are a common time for residents to use space heaters. The Saint John Fire Department noted that items like those are prone to catch fire when they’re not kept in a well-ventilated area, placed next to clothes or curtains and when they’re too close to a wall.

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The same can be said for other countertop items like coffee pots and toasters.

“Manufacturer’s instructions are so important to make sure that you do not have anything combustible nearby … that particular device,” explained Nolan.

“Make sure it’s not underneath any sort of cabinet. We have now with a gift and play at this time of year we have a lot of lithium-ion batteries out there, rechargeable batteries, that if they don’t follow manufacturers instructions you could have a potential for a fire explosion.”

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Last week’s fire in Saint John brought up concerns from Nolan about attic fires, which are typical to the area due to a lack of firewalls in older, historic homes. Without a concrete barrier between attached houses or apartment buildings, fires can quickly start between them and flow fast with no protection between living spaces.

The causes of the fires on Dec. 23 in Saint John and Dec. 25 in Fredericton are still under investigation.

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