VIDEO: Columbia family urges caution after Christmas lights lead to house fire

Mary Morrison

A Columbia, Tenn. family said a single strand of Christmas lights led to their house catching on fire -- and now they’re urging people to use caution when decking the halls.

Mary Morrison said the lights somehow caught fire at about 2:45 a.m. on Tuesday. Video shows the blaze spreading to nearby shrubs and eventually to the house by 3:47 a.m.

"We were sleeping and knowing it was going on for that long, it was scary," Homeowner Danielle Huckaby said. "Thank God the smoke detectors went off…"

Morrison said her partner, Huckaby, rushed outside to get the fire under control.

"Our guest that was staying with us yelled, 'Fire! Fire!' and then you grabbed the fire extinguisher," Morrison said.

Morrison said all of the Christmas lights were new, and the outlet wasn’t overloaded – but they did make the mistake of leaving the lights on all the time.

“A mistake many make, but could cost them their life,” Morrison said. “Luckily, our smoke detectors saved our lives yesterday.”

When the family woke up, smoke had already filled their kitchen and the front of the house was on fire.

The Maury County Fire Department arrived soon after the family called 9-1-1. Most of the damage was confined to the outside of the house and is repairable, but Morrison said the siding will have to be replaced.

Morrison said the lights were purchased from Walmart and were used only for a couple weeks before the fire broke out.

“Our mistake was leaving them on 24/7," Morrison said. "We thought because it was only one strand of lights and we weren't overloading an outlet, we would be okay. It is the most terrifying thing to be woken up to a fire on your home."

Christmas light safety tips

“Unplug your lights at night and always have fire extinguisher and make sure they’re up to date and change our batteries on your smoke detector," Morrison said.

"Check for breaks in the wiring and bulbs that are shot are replaced," said Tony Scott, Columbia Fire Department's assistant chief. "If you’re decorating in the yard, is the grass really dry where you’re putting these lights? You want to be aware of that and also the type of light. The LED light isn’t going to get as hot as a regular standard light bulb."

"You always hear about it, but you don’t think this would happen," the couple said. "I am glad that we’re all safe and we still have their home."

Click here for holiday decoration safety tips.

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