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Madonna Badger's Tragedy — A Somber Reminder on Fireplace Safety

Remember Fireplace Safety

It’s cold outside and it’s the holiday season, so many of us decide to celebrate and keep warm with a nice cozy fire. But although a fire can be beautiful, soothing, and a great place for the family to bond together, it can also be dangerous. And nothing reminds you of the dangers of things like this then when tragedy strikes. There aren’t many good things that come from tragedy, but the one redeemable aspect is that others may learn from them and won’t fall prey to the same risks.

A somber reminder occurred over Christmas. Ad executive Madonna Badger (who was responsible for such iconic ads as the Marky-Mark and Kate Moss Calvin Klein ads) lost not just her parents but her three children when her Victorian home in Connecticut was engulfed in flames. What happened?

Apparently the family had a yule log burning in the fireplace on Christmas Eve. Ms. Badger and a contractor (who was reportedly staying there while the house was being worked on) were wrapping presents. At about 3 a.m. the embers from the fireplace were stored in a metal basket and put in the foyer. That is reportedly where  — and how —the fire started. Home fires started in this way are more common than you’d think. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, 9870 house fires were caused yearly (1994-1998 statistics) due to improperly discarded ashes.  And if you think the ashes are out, they may not be. Hot coals, which can be hidden among ash, can stay hot for four days. The ashes should actually be placed into a metal lid and put somewhere that is nowhere near anything flammable. And to make it even safer it’s a good idea to wet the ashes first before disposing of them.

Do you use a fireplace? Are you extra cautious about fireplace safety?

Image: Morgue File

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