Santa roasting on an open fire: Jimmy Patronis issues Christmas fireplace warning

X-mas tree fire
The State Fire Marshal doesn't want Santa to have any surprises.

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is worried about the safety of Santa Claus, and your home.

Patronis, who doubles as the State Fire Marshal, sent a message to the good boys and girls of Florida who eagerly await Santa’s arrival this Christmas.

“Before heading to bed this Christmas Eve, make sure your fireplace is fully extinguished, so Santa doesn’t get a surprise when delivering presents to your home this year,” Patronis said.

Santa — who, in his centuries of experience, has likely had run-ins with fireplaces — will traverse the world Friday night.

Patronis also gave a nod to the emergency responders who keep our homes from glowing red like Rudolph’s nose. Like Santa, first responders work around the clock.

“Our first responders, firefighters and military members answer the call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and need our support and prayers as they work to protect us as we gather together with loved ones,” Patronis said. “Without their service, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the holidays here at home.”

Patronis tweeted Friday that law enforcement are on standby if the Grinch tries to steal Christmas again.

“We’re not going to let the Grinch threaten Florida communities,” he said.

Patronis also encouraged Santa fans to follow the jolly old elf’s progress in real-time by getting updates from the NORAD Santa Tracker. At publication time, Santa had delivered 1.8 billion gifts and was last seen in Mongolia.

The State Fire Marshal has held demonstrations on Christmastime fire safety in years past.

Officials say it’s important to keep Christmas trees watered and turn off tree lights at night. Additionally, residents should refrain from placing trees near fireplaces.

Officials also warn families have just a few minutes to escape a burning house.

Patronis said he advises families to use lights that don’t put out a lot of heat. LED lights are cooler to the touch than incandescent lights.

Artificial trees do have some advantages over the real thing. Most are sprayed with fire retardant to reduce flammability. But others say artificial trees can be harder to recycle and can also catch fire.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


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