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Christmas Light Disaster – Staying Safe This Holiday Season

Christmas is the most festive time of the year, with Christmas music playing on the radio and lights gleaming all throughout the neighborhood. That jolly feeling, however, could come at a cost if you’re not careful. Each year, more than 13,000 people go to the emergency room with holiday decorating-related injuries. Fires, electrical shock, and especially falls from ladders; all of these are the risks that homeowners face when installing their Christmas lighting displays. Here are just a few stories of people who didn’t take every precaution possible, and ended up with a major Christmas light disaster.


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If you want to take the danger out of your holiday lighting installation in Cincinnati, no problem. Just visit from ProMaster. We’d love to help you stay safe this year by letting our professionals handle the more dangerous aspects of holiday decorating.

Falls From Ladders

  • In 2017, a Littleton, Colorado man fell only six feet from a ladder while installing Christmas lights. Glen Elvenholl was taken to the emergency room after breaking his leg and dislocating his ankle. Making this Christmas light disaster a little better, however, is the fact that the firefighters stayed and finished installing his lights for him after loading him into the ambulance. While six feet doesn’t seem very high, falls from between 6 and 15 feet accounted for 25% of all fatal falls in 2013. Even a minor fall can cause major injury.
  • An 82 year-old man died in 2017 after falling from a ladder while installing lights along the roof of his two-story home in Ottawa, Canada. His family almost ended their Christmas decorating tradition, but decided to honor his memory by continuing the display. While it’s not uncommon for older people to injure themselves while decorating, most injuries occur between the ages of 25 and 55.
  • A Dunstable, MA man fell 13 feet from a ladder in December of 2016, breaking his T11 vertebrae. Fortunately a family-friend came by for a visit and found Gary Petzold, 51, shortly after his fall. As a heartwarming close to this Christmas light disaster, people from around Petzold’s town donated over $22,000 to assist him and his family during his recovery.

Electrical Shock

  • A Merrimack, New Hampshire man is lucky to be alive after suffering a 20,000 volt shock while hanging Christmas lights. The metal extension pole he was using to install lights touched the main power line to his home. The electricity arced from the line to the metal pole and went through his body, severely burning his feet and burning holes in his socks.
  • An man in Australia purchased faulty lights online, shocking himself on the exposed, 240v wiring. This Christmas light disaster could have been much worse. Electrical crews said these were the most dangerous lights they had ever seen.


  • A Tennessee home went up in smoke when the homeowners left their newly installed Christmas lights on overnight. Fire officials in that case encouraged people to inspect all of their lights. Even when they’re new out of the box, there could be fraying of wires or missing bulbs.
  • A New Jersey family placed their “Elf on a Shelf” on top of a lighting fixture. The heat from the bulb actually caught the Elf’s rear end on fire. The smoke was noticed quickly by the family and the fire didn’t spread, averting a Christmas light disaster.

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Christmas Light Disaster – Staying Safe This Holiday Season

There are all sorts of injuries that can occur due to holiday decorating. Cuts, bruises, and sprains are the most common, but concussions, burns and shocks happen all-too-often as well. If you want to take the stress and danger out of decorating your home this Christmas season, let the professionals at ProMaster do the tough stuff! We’re trained to work on ladders at heights that could cause most homeowners’ knees to wobble. If you’re interested in a ProMaster installation, give us a call at 513-322-2914, or visit us at!

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