A Coroner has found the fire that killed chef Matt Golinski’s wife and daughters in 2011, started near the Christmas tree.
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Matt Golinski’s wife, Rachel MacCracken, and children Sage and Willow, both 12, and Starlia, 10, died after becoming trapped in their Noosa home on Boxing Day morning in 2011.
The Coroner found the fire was likely started near or on the family’s Christmas tree.
The tree had been decorated with lights that ran to a four-outlet power board, and there was other electrical equipment nearby, the report stated.
The Coroner wrote, “I am unable to find that the fire was caused by candles, having regard to the fact that there was no evidence of candles burning in the vicinity of the Christmas tree on Christmas Day 2011.”
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reported there is an estimated annual average of 210 home structure fires that begin with Christmas trees.
Analysis also shows that although the number of Christmas tree fires is low, these fires represent a higher level of hazard. On average, 1 of every 9 Christmas tree fires resulted in a fatality compared to an average of one death per 75 non-confined home structure fires overall. Further, 49% of Christmas tree fires spread beyond the room of origin. The fires that spread beyond the room of origin caused 94 % of the associated fatalities.
A dry Scotch Pine Tree takes less than nine seconds to become fully involved in flames. Watch for yourself…
Please be safe this Christmas!
The NFPA warns:
- Use lights that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use.
- Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of light strands to connect.
- Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
- Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
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