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Holiday festivities often prompt rise in fires

Between now and the end of the year, many holidays are celebrated by our country's diverse population. From lighting candles to decorating a tree with colorful strings of holiday lights, many individuals and families are eager to engage in holiday celebrations. However, along with Yuletide greetings, fire departments throughout Texas, also extend a word of caution.

The National Fire Protection Association reports that between 2007 to 2011, approximately 10,630 fires occurred in the U.S. during the last three months of the year. Of those fires, over 100 deaths were reported, as well as over 900 injuries; many associated with decorative lighting at or around a Christmas tree.

After a fire occurs, the clock starts ticking for manufacturers of dangerous or defective products, if it is speculated that their product could be the cause of the fire. Fire inspections from the local fire marshal, the home-owner's attorney and the manufacturer's attorney all take place as soon as possible before potential evidence is ruined. From that point, both parties, work diligently to prove or defend their case. It is important for an attorney to determine the issue of proximate cause and whether or not the product's alleged defect existed at the time the product was purchased. This can be challenging if the product was bought several years prior.

As a word of advice to all Harris County residents, enjoy your holiday festivities, but remember to be mindful of what it takes to keep you and your family safe. Don't forget to keep your tree a safe distance from any open flames and make sure to keep it watered. Also, while the holiday lights are beautiful, make sure that you avoid overloading any electrical outlets.

Source: The Legal Intelligencer, "Products Liability Cases Arising From Holiday Fires," Saul Wilensky and John R. Timmer, Nov. 17, 2015

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