Woman throws burning Christmas tree out of window after dog chews lights

 Coco the dog, who started a fire at a Dereham flat by chewing through the lights on a Christmas tree.

Coco the dog, who started a fire at a Dereham flat by chewing through the lights on a Christmas tree. - Credit: Norfolk Fire and Rescue / Norfolk County Council

A woman saved her flat from fire by throwing a flaming Christmas tree out of a window.

Just moments before, a pet dog called Coco had chewed through the wire of the tree's Christmas lights,  sparking the blaze.

The fire happened at a home off Shipdham Road (A1075) in Dereham. After the woman threw the tree out the window and her young family evacuated, two Dereham fire crews arrived to put out the flames.

It was one of two such incidents in the past week Norfolk Fire and Rescue have been called to involving Christmas decorations.

The second fire, in Felthorpe, was started by a candle accidentally left alight overnight. Neighbours were alerted by a smoke alarm and noticed smoke early the next morning.

 Dereham fire crew members with coco the dog, who started a fire at a Dereham flat by chewing through the lights on a...

Dereham fire crew members with coco the dog, who started a fire at a Dereham flat by chewing through the lights on a Christmas tree. - Credit: Norfolk Fire and Rescue / Norfolk County Council


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Stuart Ruff, chief fire officer, said the fires highlighted the dangers of leaving decorations unattended or unprotected, and urged people to take extra care to keep their families safe over Christmas.

Mr Ruff said: "This house fire shows the importance of having correctly installed, working fire alarms. It takes one minute to check the alarms in your house each week, but could be something that saves lives in an emergency.

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"Our advice is to keep real Christmas trees well watered, not to overload plug sockets, and consider whether lights or trees are vulnerable to pets or young children.”

Nobody was hurt in the Felthorpe fire, but the smoke caused extensive damage to the home. 

Fire engines from Sprowston and Earlham rushed to the scene and firefighters used main jets and hose reel jets to put out the flames.

Margaret Dewsbury, Norfolk County Council's cabinet member for communities and partnerships, said: “These two incidents are examples of why we need to take care and be safe. We all have to be extra vigilant to keep ourselves safe at this time of year with the increased risk of decorations and candles.”

Norfolk Fire and Rescue said there were simple safety steps to take. 

They said people should test their smoke alarms weekly and double check that candles are safely positioned and blown out. People should also check the safety of decorations, especially lights, and make sure they are out of reach of pets and young children.

See here to find out more about candle safety, or watch electrical safety videos here. 

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