State officials: Christmas second busiest day for home fires - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

State officials: Christmas second busiest day for home fires

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House fire photo MGN-Online House fire photo MGN-Online

According to state fire officials, Christmas is the second busiest day for home fires throughout the year, following Thanksgiving.  

Already we've seen tragedy strike two local communities after two homes go up in flames leaving one person dead.

A charred, hallowed out shell is all that remains of 64 Mill Street in Westfield.

It was around 7:15 p.m. Wednesday when flames first tore through the two-story single family home.

"I saw a lot of smoke and a lot of firemen. I mean one right after the other," said neighbor Flo Saurette.  

Dozens of fire fighters descended on the home--but heavy smoke and debris would push them back.

Only the homeowner was inside at the time, he did not survive.

"You just saw the firemen try and go in there and they'd just come back out just so overcome with smoke. They really did try to save him," explained Saurette.

Officials have not releasing the victim's identity, but neighbors describe him as a kind man.

"You really feel bad, you know," said Saurette.  

Hours after the Westfield fire, Springfield fire fighters found themselves battling an early-morning fire on Montrose Street.

That one leaving four people displaced.

Officials believe the fire started in a second floor bedroom.

The Massachusetts State Fire Marshal’s Office said scenes like Westfield and Springfield are all too familiar around the holidays.

Cooking is the leading cause of fires followed by heating, burning candles and Christmas trees.

However, the fire officials said it is all preventable.

They advise never leaving anything alone while it's cooking, have your chimneys and furnaces checked by a professional yearly, burn candles inside a 1-foot safety circle, and always keep Christmas trees well-watered and away from a heat source.

Officials are still trying to determine what caused both of those homes to go up in flames.

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