Local neighborhoods emanate festive cheer

Colman Hallinan, Staff Writer

Since their first introduction outside Thomas Edison’s workshop in 1880, electric Christmas lights have been one of America’s favorite holiday traditions. Surrounding Dulaney neighborhoods are no exception. Festivals all over the country celebrate exterior displays of color and light intricately designed by citizens looking to express their festivity. The Miracle on 34th Street in Baltimore showcases elaborate and eccentric designs put on by residents of a single city block and has become a holiday hot-spot for people all over the state. However, according to studies done by the Electrical Safety Foundation International, America’s most valued tradition is also one of its most dangerous. The foundation reports that approximately 150 home fires per year are caused by exterior Christmas lights and holiday decorations. These fires are responsible for eight deaths, 16 injuries, and almost $9 million dollars each year. Additionally, 5,200 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms each year for accidents related to exterior holiday decorating. Half of these injuries are results of falls from ladders while stringing lights. Only 10 percent of decoration fires are intentional.