Public Safety Director's Spotlight - Preventing Winter Fires

Holiday Festivals, Open House, Bazaar, Parlour Tour, Concerts, Light Displays and more in #STL City

December 11, 2014 | 8 min reading time
fireplace logs on fire


Preventing Winter Fires

The holidays may be the "most wonderful time of the year," but it's also when accidental fires are most likely.  While traditional heating fuels and utilities are available, some St. Louisans opt for alternate sources for home heating.  The use of a wood-burning stove, space heater or fireplace can be a contributing factor in a residential fire.  Following are a number of fire safety tips from the U.S. Fire Administration to help you maintain a fire safe home this winter:

  • Never use fuel burning appliances without proper room venting.  Burning fuel (coal, kerosene, or propane, for example) can produce deadly fumes.
  • Be sure the fireplace or wood stove is installed properly.  Wood stoves should have adequate clearance (36") from combustible surfaces and proper floor support and protection.
  • Have the chimney inspected annually and cleaned if necessary, especially if it has not been used for some time.
  • Do not use flammable liquids to start or accelerate any fire.
  • Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace opening to prevent embers or sparks from jumping out and unwanted material from going in.
  • Don't use excessive amounts of paper to build roaring fires in fireplaces.
  • Never burn charcoal indoors.  Burning charcoal can give off lethal amounts of carbon monoxide.
  • Have your furnace inspected to ensure that it is in good working condition.
  • Never use a range or an oven as a supplemental heating device.

Upcoming Events

Dec. 13 – Holidays in Old North Festival & Craft Market, 14thMontgomery, 11 a.m.

Old North St. Louis Restoration Group is inviting everyone to stop by the 4th Annual Holidays in Old North Festival &Craft Market this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Crown Square Storefronts at 14th & Montgomery Streets (the same block as Crown Candy Kitchen).  Fifty vendors will be selling unique and handmade gifts and goods.  Visitors will find a variety of delicious food, hot beverages, free photos with Santa, children's activities and more!  Bring a toy to donate to a child in need.  For more information, visit the ONSL Facebook page.

Dec. 13 – Holiday Market, City Garden Montessori School, 9 a.m.

The Tower Grove Farmers' Market will hold a Holiday Market this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at City Garden Montessori School, 1618 Tower Grove Avenue in the Botanical Heights neighborhood.  Visitors will be able to shop for local foods and unique, locally-made gifts.  To learn more, visit the website.

Dec. 13 – Holiday Open House, Scott Joplin House State Historic Site, 2658 Delmar, 1 p.m.

The Scott Joplin House State Historic Site will hold an informational meeting and celebrate holiday traditions from the late 1900s this Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Scott Joplin House, 2658 Delmar in the Midtown neighborhood.  Visitors will be able to tour Mr. Joplin's gas lit apartment, visit the Rosebud Café to listen to the sounds of live holiday music from the Twinda Murry Ensemble, circa 1902, have a cup of hot cocoa and more.  Staff will be on hand to provide information, and the meeting will include a summary of activities during 2014 and future plans.  The public is invited to bring their ideas as well.  To RSVP, please call (314) 340-5790.

Dec. 13 – Urban League Guild of Metropolitan St. Louis Holiday Bazaar, Vashon High School, 3 p.m.

Just in time for holiday shopping, the Urban League Guild of Metropolitan St. Louis will present its annual Holiday Bazaar this Saturday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Vashon High School, 3035 Cass Avenue in the Jeff/Vander/Lou neighborhood.  Guests will be able to shop for designer clothes, purses, jewelry, cosmetics, and toys while they enjoy entertainment and celebrity appearances.  Questions?  Call (314) 615-3604.

Dec. 13 – Downtown Dutchtown Holiday Shop Hop, On and around Meramec Street, South Grand, Virginia & Bates, During regular store hours

The Downtown Dutchtown Holiday Shop Hop will take place this Saturday on and around Meramec Street, S. Grand, Virginia & Bates during regular store hours.  Participating merchants include:  Twice Blessed Resale Shop, Urban Eats Café, ReFabulous, Urban Matter, Feasting Fox, Crusoe's, Fay's Antiques, and Vintage Bazaar, to name but a few.  Visitors will be able to enjoy carolers, music, holiday treats, attendance prizes and more!  For more information, visit the web site.

Dec. 13 – St. Louis Classic Viewing Party, Steinberg Skating Rink, 9 p.m.

The St. Louis Classic road game between the St. Louis Blues and the Colorado Avalanche at Denver will be broadcast live from Steinberg Rink in Forest Park this Saturday beginning at 8 p.m. with the pre-game show.  Join fellow Blues fans to watch the game outdoors on a giant screen while you skate.  Go to the website for more details.

Dec. 14 – Lafayette Square Holiday Parlor Tour, starts at Park House, 10 a.m.

The Lafayette Square Restoration Committee will present the Lafayette Square Taste of the Holidays House and Parlour Tour this Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Visitors will enjoy the sights, sounds, and scents of a Victorian wonderland as they tour 10 decorated homes.  The tour will also feature carriage rides around Lafayette Park, trolley rides to tour destinations, holiday caroling, and live music  .For all the details, visit the web site.

Dec. 14 – Hot Chocolate 15K/5K, Downtown, 7:30 a.m.

The Hot Chocolate Run is headed back to beautiful Downtown St. Louis this Sunday.  Enjoy an unforgettable run through the home of the Cardinals and reward yourself with piles of rich, melty chocolate at the finish line.  This year, organizers have added a finisher's medal for 15K participants.  The festivities will begin at 7:30 a.m. at Soldiers' Memorial, 1315 Chestnut.  Visit for all the particulars.

Dec. 14 – Gateway Ringers Holiday Handbell Concert, Messiah Lutheran Church, 4 p.m.

Join the Gateway Ringers for a free Holiday Handbell Concert this Sunday from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Messiah Lutheran Church, 2846 S. Grand Boulevard in the Tower Grove East neighborhood.  The concert will feature new and old holiday favorites and "Believe" from The Polar Express.  For more information, log on to the web site.

Dec. 17 – DT2's Annual Holiday Party, The Liermann Loft, 6 p.m.

The annual Downtown Dutchtown Business Association Holiday Party & Membership Drive will take place this coming Wednesday, Dec. 17 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Liermann Loft Event Space, 3303 Meramec Street.  Join friends and neighbors to celebrate the holiday season. DT2 will provide the libations if guests will bring a dish of any type to share.  RSVP by 12/12/14 at

Now through Dec. 31 – Holiday Magic, St. Louis Union Station

Whether you have tickets for The Polar ExpressTM Train Ride or not, exciting Holiday Magic events and activities at St. Louis Union Station are open to all.  Check the website at for an up-to-date list of events including Santa's Mail Room where kids can write to the Jolly Old Elf; story time with Mrs. Claus; live music and dance performances; the Panoramic Light Show in the Grand Hall and more.

Now through Jan. 3, 2015 – U.S. Bank Wild Lights, St. Louis Zoo, 5:30 p.m.

Stroll through the Saint Louis Zoo's enchanting holiday wonderland and enjoy thousands of colorful lights, animated light displays and seasonal sounds now through Jan. 3, 2015, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.  Visitors will also be able to gather 'round for fireside stories and live performances on select nights.  Hot chocolate, meals and snacks will be available for purchase at Lakeside Café.  For the complete calendar of events, visit the web site.

Now through Dec. 27 – Chase Park Plaza's Annual Holiday Extravaganza, 6 p.m.

The legendary Chase Park Plaza hotel is hosting an Annual Holiday Extravaganza now through Dec. 27 to celebrate St. Louis' most beloved Holiday traditions.  The month-long event will feature Christmas carolers, cookie decorating, a gingerbread house, elves, a Hanukkah Celebration, a special Kwanzaa display, and free photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus.  Throughout the month, Mrs. Claus will be available Friday and Saturday evenings (6-8 p.m.) to read Holiday stories and pose for free photos with visitors in the Chase's lobby.  On Sundays, other events include free cookie decorating workshop with Mrs. Claus (Dec. 14, 2-5 p.m.) and a special Hanukkah Celebration in the main lobby (Dec. 21, 2-4 p.m.)  Need more information?  Visit the web site.

Now through Dec. 24 – 5th Annual Window Walk, Central West End, 1 to 6 p.m.

The 5th Annual Central West End Window Walk is currently underway.  Enjoy family-friendly festivities, stroll amidst beautifully decorated windows, watch live entertainment and discover special promotions throughout the District.  Enjoy entertainment throughout the neighborhood on Dec. 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21 and 24.  Visitors to the area can vote on their favorite window by visiting participating businesses.  The People's Choice Winners will be announced at the end of the season, and voters will be chosen at random to receive a $50 gift certificate that may be used at select CWE businesses.  Celebrity judges will determine their top three window winners as well.  Go to for all the details.

Dec. 14, 21 & 28 – Family Sundays, Saint Louis Art Museum, Noon

Everyone is invited to stop by the Saint Louis Art Museum every Sunday afternoon in December from Noon to 4 p.m. for Family Sundays:  Winter Celebrations.  Experience a different culture each week with art activities, scavenger hunts, performances, and special treats.  For a complete calendar of activities, log on to the web site.

Now through Jan. 4, 2015 – Anheuser-Busch Holiday Lights 2014, Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour Center, 6 to 10 p.m.

The Anheuser-Busch holiday lights display offers more than half a million lights and a variety of new experiences for guests of all ages to enjoy.  This family-friendly event offers free self-guided walking tours, warm and cozy fire pits for making s'mores, complimentary beer samples for adults 21 and older, dinner at the Biergarten and more!  Guests can enter through the Tour Center, located at 1200 Lynch Street, and park for free in designated Tour Center parking lots.  The season-long activities take place every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 6 to 9 p.m. through Jan. 4, 2015.  For all the details, visit

Now through Dec. 31 – The Polar ExpressTM Train Ride, St. Louis Union Station, 4:30 p.m.

All aboard for The Polar Express Train Ride departing St. Louis Union Station with service to the North Pole on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during the holiday season!  The magical story of the classic children's book, The Polar Express, is told during this ride on real trains  .Families will drink hot chocolate, enjoy cookies, sing Christmas carols, play with elves and meet Santa Claus, who will give them the first gift of Christmas – a silver sleigh bell.  Trains depart at 4:30, 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. for an hour-long journey.  For ticket information and more details, visit the web site.

Now through Jan. 3, 2015 – Garden Glow Holiday Light Exhibit, Missouri Botanical Garden, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.

The Garden Glow Light Exhibit at the Missouri Botanical Garden provides visitors a spectacle of unique light displays, with hundreds of thousands of lights adorning some of the Garden's most widely recognized locations including the Climatron.  The Garden is located at 4344 Shaw Boulevard. To learn more, visit the web site.

Save the Date

Dec. 19 – Third Friday Party, Third Degree Glass Factory, 6 p.m.

Dec. 20 – The Ugly Sweater Run, Forest Park, 11 a.m.

Dec. 20 – 1864 Holiday Ball, Old Courthouse, Noon

Dec. 21 – National Lutheran Choir Christmas Concert, Christ Church Cathedral, 5 p.m.

Promoting Your Neighborhood Activities

Is there a neighborhood event on the schedule that you would like noted in the Spotlight?  If so, you may email the information about it to me at or to Cathy Smentkowski at for consideration.  You may also post it on the City's Calendar of Events on the City's web site:  The link to submit an event is at the very bottom of the home page.  The listing is free.  I encourage you to take advantage of this free way to promote your event.

St. Louis Teen Talent Competition 2015

The Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation is once again underwriting and producing the annual St. Louis Teen Talent Competition.High school students in the St. Louis Metro area (i.e., living within a 50-mile radius of the Gateway Arch) are invited to enter and compete for college scholarships, special awards, prizes and public appearance opportunities  .The final deadline to return entry forms is Friday, Dec. 19.  To register for the competition and to learn more, visit the web site.

Col. Richard Gray

Director of Public Safety

City of St. Louis

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