Fire Dept. touts recent holiday community campaigns as record successes

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During the holidays, the Cape Coral Fire Department promotes two community campaigns.

One of those programs is “Keep the Wreath Green.”

Keep the Wreath Green is a way to remind Cape Coral citizens the importance of fire safety during the holiday season. On December 1, the Department hangs a wreath outside Fire Station 4 on Santa Barbara Boulevard. The wreath is filled with green lights. When the department responds to a call of a preventable fire, such as cooking, smoking, candles, space heaters, etc., a green light is replaced with a red light.

This year's campaign concluded on January 1 with only one red bulb on the wreath. The lone red bulb was the result of a fire that occurred at the Parker House Apartments on December 8. Fire Department officials say the cause of the fire was incendiary and appeared to be non-accidental.

The one red bulb during the campaign was the second year in a row, the campaign completed with just one preventable fire during the holiday month. The fire department says the low totals for the campaign two years in a row is an indication that the community is becoming more fire safety conscious during the holidays.

The second campaign the fire department undertakes during the holiday season is their annual Cape Coral Fire Department Toy Drive.

This past year, the fire department worked with seven groups and charities, as well as individual families to provide toys and other items to those who may not have received gifts otherwise.

The department says it was a record year for the recently completed campaign collecting over 4,500 toys, bikes, gift cards, perfumes, lotions, makeup, sporting goods, arts and crafts, games, puzzles, books and more.

The items that were collected were given to children living in Cape Coral with Down syndrome, cancer, and other chronic illnesses or lifelong conditions and their siblings. Children in foster care and families with financial hardships also received toys.

As a result of the community's generosity, the department distributed toys and gifts to over 1,500 children in Cape Coral, with many of the children receiving multiple gifts and stocking-stuffers to open, helping to make their holidays a lot brighter.

The department attributes the tremendous success of both campaigns during the recent holiday season to a strong showing of community support, “We know the holidays are a hectic time for everyone,” said Fire Chief Donald K. Cochran, “So, we are proud of the citizens of Cape Coral for taking preventive steps to reduce the risk of home fires and are grateful to them for also taking the time to think about others in their community and generously donating to those in need of a little extra help.”

Photo: Cape Coral Fire Department