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Wed Aug 5, 2015, 03:00 PM

Christmas tree that fueled a fire killing 6 people was to be tossed the next day

Last edited Wed Aug 5, 2015, 04:12 PM - Edit history (1)

This is about this story:

6 Family Members Unaccounted for After 4-Alarm Mansion Fire in Annapolis

Official: Relatives believe family was in mansion for fire

Christmas tree that fueled a fire killing 6 people was to be tossed the next day

Public Safety
By Lynh Bui August 5 at 3:36 PM 

The 15-foot Fraser fir that twinkled with Christmas lights was showing its age. After six weeks on display in the castle-like mansion overlooking the water in Annapolis, its branches were drooping and its needles were dropping.

The tree was supposed to come down Jan. 20. But the night before it was to be removed, it became the powerful tinder fueling a blaze that consumed Don and Sandra Pyle’s home, leaving the couple and their four grandchildren dead.

That the Christmas tree was slated to be removed the day after the blaze was yet another devastating detail that emerged from a report released Wednesday investigating one of the deadliest fires Maryland has seen in decades.
....

Authorities with the ATF and the Anne Arundel County Fire Department issued the 43-page report about seven months after investigators declared that an electrical outlet powering tree lights overheated, igniting a tree skirt leading to the eventual inferno that killed Don, 56, and Sandy 63. Also lost in the fire were two sets of Boone siblings: Lexi, 8, and Katie, 7; Charlotte, 8, and Wes, 6.

{Devoted grandparents, four adored children}

I thought this comment was interesting:

B-flat
3:17 PM EDT

>a faulty electrical outlet powering tree lights sparked the eventual inferno

All articles about this incident should emphasize that, had the dwelling's load centers had arc fault circuit interrupters installed, this would have been a non incident.

As protection against a leading cause of electrical fires (i.e., arcing), we replaced all 30 of our 120 volt circuit breakers with Combination Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters. CAFCI’s continuously test for inappropriate electrical arcs, the kind that can start fires, in branch wiring and devices plugged into receptacles – and trip that circuit breaker if sensed. For further information, Google on “combination AFCI”, or go here for an overview: Arc-fault circuit interrupter [font color="red"]{I edited the address to give it correct formatting at DU- MKJ.}[/font]

CAFCI’s are the current technology to protect home wiring circuits, progressing from fuses, circuit breakers, then GFCI’s (ground fault circuit interrupters), then AFCI’s in 2002. Combination AFCI’s are the latest generation of protection. GFCI’s are designed to prevent a person from being shocked. CAFCI’s are designed to prevent fires.

As of the latest (2014) National Electrical Code (NEC), CAFCI circuit breakers are required on all (120-volt) branch circuits supplying outlets or devices installed in dwelling unit kitchens, family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, bedrooms, sunrooms, recreation rooms, closets, hallways, laundry areas, or similar rooms or areas. While there’s no requirement to upgrade old construction, it’s allowed and encouraged. The 2017 NEC will likely mandate CAFCI’s on all 120 volt circuits, so in our case, we’ll be ahead of the current code. Advanced do-it-yourselfers comfortable working with electric service panels that know how to be careful, can replace circuit breakers for around $40 each. Otherwise, any electrician can do the job, but you’ll pay more.

There was this one too:

none12
1:01 PM EDT

The Annapolis paper has much more detail:
"....As many as 15 strands of Christmas lights were plugged into a power strip, which was plugged into the floor outlet, the report says. The power strip and outlet were covered by a plastic sheet and blanket, which served as the tree skirt. Dry tree needles were on the skirt."
Report: Grandparents in Annapolis mansion fire believed to have tried to save children [font color="red"]{I edited this address too - MKJ.}[/font]

Having not read the report, I do not know anything about the power strips in use at this residence, but I do know that the Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a few warnings about power strips bearing counterfeit UL labels.

Counterfeit goods: How to tell the real from the rip-off

We’re awash in knockoffs of iconic American brands as well as respected international products
Published: May 28, 2015 06:00 AM

As the world has grown smaller, more and more foreign-made goods are hitting our shores. Among them, a flood of fakes, fueled in part by the Internet and the ease with which we can buy products directly. Last year, U.S. law enforcement agencies—including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations—shut down 29,684 websites that were illegally selling counterfeit goods online.

Buying counterfeit goods—whether online or in person—comes with a big risk. Not only do fakes cost U.S. businesses as much as $250 billion in lost trade annually, but many are also downright dangerous. Here, some of the latest to watch for:
{snip}

Report: Grandparents in Annapolis mansion fire believed to have tried to save children

By Tim Pratt
tpratt@capgaznews.com
August 5, 2015, 4:01 PM

Fire investigators on Wednesday said the owners of an Annapolis area mansion appear to have tried to save their four young grandchildren before succumbing to smoke and heat last winter during Anne Arundel County's deadliest fire in decades. .

The final 43-page report on the Childs Point Road fire, released Wednesday morning, concluded the blaze started when a corroded electrical outlet in the floor ignited a Christmas tree skirt, sending flames quickly up the tree and into the rest of the house during the early morning hours of Jan. 19.

It occurred after Christmas tree lights on the dried up 15-foot Fraser fir had been left on continuously for six weeks, which heated up the outlet that sparked the blaze, according to the report.
....

The final report was anticipated to be released this spring. Fires set during the unrest in Baltimore, however, delayed its release as investigators focused their attention on the Baltimore fires.

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Reply Christmas tree that fueled a fire killing 6 people was to be tossed the next day (Original post)
mahatmakanejeeves Aug 2015 OP
CrispyQ Aug 2015 #1
elleng Aug 2015 #2

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Wed Aug 5, 2015, 03:11 PM

1. Tragic story.

Would an artificial tree have saved the family?

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Wed Aug 5, 2015, 05:03 PM

2. Heard that while driving today

(on beltway.)
AWFUL!

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