Christmas tree fire can burn entire room in 60 seconds, firefighters warn

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SAN DIEGO – A Christmas tree fire can fill a room with smoke in just 30 seconds and burn down an entire living room in 60, according to a fire chief.

To educate homeowners about these unsuspecting dangers, Erie Insurance developed a startling video that shows what can happen when a vacant home becomes completely engulfed in flames because of a Christmas tree.

In a video released by Erie Insurance, a vacant home with a Christmas tree catches fire and the flames spread to other furniture within seconds.

“A Christmas tree fire can fill a room with toxic smoke in just 30 seconds and burn down an entire living room in 60,” said Chief of the Erie Fire Department Guy Santone. “It’s critical that homeowners understand the risks, and it’s up to us to train the public about fire safety, especially around this time of year.”

Firefighters warn that the fire can happen if people don’t take the proper safety precautions.

Recent national reporting done by the National Fire Protection Association revealed that Christmas tree fires resulted in an annual average of seven deaths, 19 injuries and $17.5 million in direct property damage during a four-year span.

Here are five safety tips for a merrier, not scarier, holiday season:

  1. Quench Your Tree’s Thirst: It’s crucial to water your Christmas tree every day because a dry one can catch fire and burn faster than a newspaper.
  2. Kick the Tree to the Curb Sooner: Nearly 40 percent of home fires that begin with Christmas trees occur in January — long after gifts have been unwrapped. As sad as it is to face the end of the holiday season, make sure to remove your tree in a timely manner.
  3. Shed a Light on Electrical Problems: One out of every three Christmas tree fires in a home is caused by electrical problems, so don’t connect more than the maximum number of light strands recommended by the manufacturer. Also, make sure to inspect the lights for damage, tossing out any that have loose connections, broken sockets or cracked wires. Check that smoke detectors are properly working, too, so you can be alerted in the event of an emergency situation.
  4. Keep a Safe Distance: While a Christmas tree nestled near a cozy fireplace and decorated mantle sounds like a perfect setting for the holiday, be careful to keep your tree at least three feet away from heat sources.
  5. Properly Handle Candles: If you celebrate Chanukah, know that December is the peak time of year for home candle fires. Consider replacing real candles with battery-operated flameless candles, which can look, smell and feel like the real thing without the risk.