There’s a warning for homeowners this holiday season if you plan to put up a live Christmas tree. If left too dry, Christmas trees can pose a dangerous hazard for house fires. A total of 26 million Americans reportedly experienced a holiday-related house fire last year, according to a recent insurance report.
A Christmas symbol can quickly turn into a holiday nightmare, and Rural Metro demonstrated Tuesday how easily and rapidly it can all happen.
“We simulated a fire in the tree that would have been generated by a spark from a poorly corrected Christmas light,” said Rural Metro spokesman Jeff Bagwell.
A spark on a tree without enough water takes less than a minute to turn into flames that light up an entire tree and start to spread to other parts of the home.
“At that point in a house, you would have seen the fire spread to furniture, the carpeted floor, lamp shades, curtains that would be in the room, therefore spreading the fire,” Bagwell said.
It often takes less than five minutes for a Christmas tree to ignite and for your entire living room to go up in flames.
Rural Metro says you should water your Christmas tree daily. If the needles fall off, the tree is too dry. A dry Christmas tree can become the biggest holiday hazard.
“If we put lights on the tree where the connections are not real good and you have frayed wires that have been packed in a box all year, ultimately that can create a spark that can lead to a fire in a dry tree,” Bagwell said.
Bagwell says there are things you can do to keep both your family and your tree safe this holiday season. Keep your tree watered, check for frayed wires, and keep your tree far away from fireplaces and other heating sources.
“Live trees are beautiful but they need constant attention. They need water. Make sure the Christmas lights are in good condition. Also make sure everything is away from that Christmas tree, especially heating sources like space heaters. Those kind of things can be disastrous,” Bagwell said.
Other things you can do to prevent a Christmas tree fire include checking for broken lights or cracked sockets. Also remember to test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in your home.