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Here's the biggest issue firefighters see during Christmas season

Take it from a Windcrest couple who just won $50K for their Christmas decor: If you're plugging in lots of lights, you'll want to follow simple safety measures.

WINDCREST, Texas — It's Christmas time in Windcrest!

At 405 Waycrest Drive, it's an eye-catching Winter Wonderland.

The home, owned by John and Brenda Wilson, is decorated with more than 120,000 LED lights. 4,000 are on the roof.

The couple just won big thanks to their creative display.

If you're building a spectacular display of your own, the San Antonio Fire Department is recommending following simple steps to prevent a fire.

"We have taken things to a far greater level than we've ever done before," said John Wilson, who has called Windcrest home since 1990.

It's a tradition in his household to go all-out for Christmas.

"We went with the Chipmunks this year," he said. "We've also got The Chipettes."

The designs come from Brenda while John makes her creations come to life.

Credit: Brenda and John Wilson (KENS)

"We wanted to bring some attention back to Windcrest and our Light Up that's been lost over the years as residents get older."

The Wilsons' decorations are so popular, they earned national attention as the winners of the syndicated show "The Great Christmas Light Fight".

"We won $50,000!" said Brenda. "Unbelievable!"

John says their lights are plugged in to 17 outlets on the eaves of their house.

Credit: KENS

"As in the old days, you can't just plug it into the front porch light!" he said.

John's right. Plugging everything into one place could be disastrous.

"Two things max plugged into a wall outlet," said Joe Arrington, Spokesman for the San Antonio Fire Department. "Don't overload your outlets, especially inside the house."

The biggest issue firefighters see this time of year is overloaded outlets.

"If you start adding multiple layers and it looks like just a wad of electricity, kind of like the Griswolds, if it's a mass of wires plugged into one outlet, that's never gonna be safe," said Arrington.

Overloading can mean overheating, which is the perfect recipe for a fire.

Arrington says a single surge protector with multiple plug-ins is fine.

"Where we see the issue is where people start to daisy chain them," said Arrington. "Where you've got a surge protector with another surge protector plugged into it going off of that. That's where you run into a fire hazard where it can overload."

Holiday Spark

As you decorate your house for the holidays, make it a safe place for Santa to recharge. Remember that overloaded electrical outlets are a leading cause of fire in the home. Help Santa get home safe this Christmas, and deck your halls responsibly. Find safety tips at FireSafeSA.com Special thanks to megaphoniccreative.com & Warren Wolf and Mack Avenue Records.

Posted by San Antonio Fire Department on Saturday, November 27, 2021

Just like the Wilsons, follow instructions on the box for your lights.

If you have multiple strands, the box will say how many is too many to plug into each other.

As simple as it may sound, be sure to use indoor lights indoors and outdoor lights outdoors.

"A lot of times, if people put indoor lights outside or vice versa and then those can also become a fire hazard," said Arrington. "They're not intended to get wet if they're outside and they burn hotter potentially if they're inside."

If you use a space heater, don't plug it in next to a bunch of lights. Fire officials say that could overload the circuit and potentially cause a fire. If you're able, use flameless or battery-operated candles instead of real ones. If you choose real candles this holiday season, keep them away from your decorations and anything flammable.

Before you put up your lights, make sure the wires aren't frayed. If they are, throw them away.

Finally, Arrington says, don't cover your windows or doors with lights or holiday decorations. In case you need a quick escape from a fire or emergency, you need easy access out of all possible exits to your home.

John adds, if you're aiming to get a display like his, he recommends talking with an electrician first to make sure your setup is good to go. 

Since the Wilsons have lots of wires and reinforcements for their yard decor, Brenda says she tries to keep children out of the yard for their own safety.

As KENS 5 stopped by their home in Windcrest Wednesday afternoon, car after car passed by recording the decorations. Brenda says the support from everyone is simply wonderful.

Credit: KENS

"Our real reward is in the faces of the children. There's just nothing like it. This is a wonderland to them and we're happy to provide it," said Brenda. "The grownups are just as excited as the kids."

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