Firefighter Recalls Year When Gift Turned into Tinder

Be careful your presents aren't going to start a fire in the hiding place you choose.

Good intentions during the holidays can also have dangerous results.

Fire Safety Educator Sandy Ray said she remembers a fire that started just before Christmas because of a hidden present. 

"The little boy was about 5 and he made his mother a paper craft at school," she said. "Wanting to surprise her for Christmas, he decided to hide it as best as he could and he needed a good hiding spot at his level so he decided to put it in the broiler drawer below the oven."

When the mother turned the broiler on to start the Christmas meal, "the whole house filled with smoke," said Ray.

Thankfully the family called the fire department and left the house safely, but the present and kitchen was full of soot, like Santa's coat after going down a chimney.

 "When we arrived and opened the broiler drawer, there was the craft all burned up, black and charred," Ray said.

The little boy "was crying as he told the firefighters what he had done," she said.

It was hard for the mother to be mad at her son because he was trying to be thoughtful. Ray said.

It is important to teach children fire prevention and safety, Ray said. She recently taught a class to elementary students in Stow and gave out 12 awards to students who exemplified fire safety in their posters for the city's .

Fire Marshal Jim Leidel said the fire department gets more busy this time of year. To prevent fires at your home this season, be sure to check out his .

Most recently, the fire department was dispatched to Dec. 21 when an in a room being set up for a holiday party. No one was hurt during the incident.


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