Fire officials stress importance of smoke detectors

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SHERMAN, TX -- It was a fire last Christmas Eve that ended the life of 2-year-old Alayda Torres.

And it was a wake-up call for the importance of smoke detectors.

"After that fire, we were fortunate enough that the county fire chiefs and the city of Pottsboro applied to an assistance to firefighters grant," said Sherman Fire Chief Jeff Jones.

The grants provide smoke detectors for all fire departments in Grayson County to give out to the public, Jones said.

"In fact one of the conditions of that grant is that we install those detectors," he said.

Smoke detectors save lives, especially in fires at night, he said.

"So the detector is really the eyes, ears and nose for us," Jones said. "And it can detect a small fire, and in fact the products of that fire well before they could be detected, and give you plenty of time to get out."

And as the holidays wind down, so does the life of your Christmas tree. It's important to get the tree out of the house as soon as possible.

"Unfortunately what we see a lot of times is people try to burn them in their fireplaces, or again they get dried out, they don't maintain them very well, and those real trees become very combustible when exposed to a fireplace or space heater," Jones said.

There's a quick solution to get rid of that fire hazard.

"The best thing they can do is set them out for recycling, dispose of them properly - they make great mulch," Jones said.

In Denison, residents can drop off their Christmas trees at the solid waste collection site on FM 84 for free.

Site Worker Gary Ollie said most people hold on to their trees the week after Christmas.

"Probably next week, it'll probably be a lot busier," he said. "This week I'm not expecting a whole lot."

But he expects a steady flow of tree traffic next week.

"Probably just four or five trees a day, and sometimes more," he said.

42 percent of christmas tree fires occur between December 23 and January 3, according to The National Fire Protection Association.

Jones said the Sherman Fire Department gave out more than 800 smoke detectors so far this year.

And anyone without detectors in their home can call the fire department - they'll come out and install them for free.

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