It can happen in an instant. A Fresno firefighter demonstrated the dangers of having a dry Christmas tree in your home, by igniting one with a lighter. It turned into a raging fire within seconds. The entire room was engulfed in flames in less than a minute.
“I was shocked. I've seen the video tape of it. I've never seen one in person and I couldn't believe how fast that Christmas tree went up,” said Koby Johns of the Fresno Fire Department.
Johns says there are 240 Christmas tree fires every year in the U.S. Typically the home is a total loss.
“If a fire were to start near a Christmas tree, it's going to grow so much faster than it would have otherwise. And the smoke is what's going to harm you first,” said Johns.
He says now is the time to get rid of the tree. After the ornaments are off, most cities will take it out with your trash.
“Cut the tree into three-foot lengths and put it into the green container. So it's pretty simple, if they have a six-foot tree, but it in half, put it in the container,” said Patrick Wiemiller, Public Utilities and Public Works Director for the City of Fresno.
While some like to enjoy the tree well after Christmas, firefighters say the risk of losing your home is not worth it. They also remind people to make sure they have a working smoke detector.
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