RYE, N.Y. - In light of the Christmas Day Stamford, Ct. fire that claimed the lives of three children and their grandparents, the Rye Fire Department has a list of fire safety tips on its website.
On Wednesday, Rye Brook residents Gus and Judy Uhry lost their home to a house fire. The source of the fire has yet to be determined, and luckily for the elderly couple a letter carrier was close by to help them escape from the blaze.
On Friday, the Daily Rye caught up with Rye Fire Inspector Lt. James Dianni to discuss ways to stay safe from fires this winter.
"Part of my job is to educate the public whenever I get a chance," Dianni said when asked about the tips on the website. "We have the tips up all year round, but we stress different hazards during different seasons."
According to Dianni, he is viewed as somewhat of a Grinch during the holidays.
"Every year I become the villain," Dianni said. "When I go around to restaurants and stores and tell them they have to take things down, people get all bent out of shape about it."
According to Dianni, merchants, vendors and other businesses are not allowed to have lighting on greenery, and can only use artificial greenery pre-approved to be non-combustible.
"When a Christmas tree catches fire it acts like a blowtorch," Dianni said. "We've been lucky (in Rye) through the years that we haven't had anything too bad."
Among the tips detailed by Dianni and the Fire Department's website are to ensure your fireplace is neatly kept and unobstructed, never leave the fire unattended, make sure you have escape routes, check the batteries on your smoke alarms, and keep a fire extinguisher handy.
Above all else, Dianni preached the importance of remaining attentive regarding fires.
"You have to be vigilant," Dianni said. "Keep your ears and eyes open at all times and don't hesitate to give us a call if you see anything."
For the full list of fire safety tips, visit the Rye Fire Department's website at www.ryefire.com.