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Firefighters stress safety tips for Christmas trees, winter heating

Christmas trees can go up in flames in a matter of seconds, Oklahoma City firefighters said. They recommend making sure live trees have plenty of water.
by Robert Medley Published: December 10, 2012

A live Christmas tree can explode into a fireball in a matter of seconds.

Firefighters this month are urging people to be careful with trees inside their homes, a seasonal message they issue every year.

“Make sure it's as fresh and green as possible and make sure it's not drying out too much,” Oklahoma City fire Battalion Chief Brian Stanaland said.

Live trees will dry out in a few weeks, even if the tree is well-watered.

As soon as Christmas is over, “get the tree out of the house,” Stanaland said.

“In a manner of seconds a tree can go up in flames that shoot 10 to15 feet in the air,” he said.

Keep the tree away from heat sources such as a floor or wall furnace, space heater or fireplace. Christmas lights should be checked for any frayed wires or broken bulb sockets. The newer model LED lights are safer, Stanaland said.

Fire Maj. Kevin Berry said Christmas decorations and trees can pose fire hazards in a home if not handled properly. One good practice is to turn the Christmas lights off at night and when you aren't home by unplugging them, he said.

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