Christmas tree fires aren’t common, but they’re fast and deadly.
The best way to prevent one: Water your tree daily, as the Fort Worth Fire Department demonstrated Thursday.
Firefighters bought two live Christmas trees Wednesday. They watered one thoroughly and left the other to dry out for a media demonstration Thursday morning at the Bob Bolen Public Safety Complex in south Fort Worth
Then, in a shipping container used for training, they lit the dry tree with a blowtorch. In seconds, the tree was ablaze. Within two minutes, the room was engulfed.
They tried to light the watered tree with the same blowtorch for a few minutes, but it wasn’t catching.
“It’s important that everybody knows that we need to manage these trees, maintain them, keep them watered,” firefighter Kyle Clay said. “Once we’re done with them, we have to get rid of them very quick. If they become dry, they become a very serious life hazard in our homes.”
Clay said that within one minute, the room can become extremely hot — 1,200-2,400 degrees — and that could make escaping the house fire harder, because occupants can’t go into that room.
About one in four Christmas tree fires kills someone, Clay said.
In addition to watering your tree daily, you should also make sure it is not too close to heat sources, don’t use candles on it, only use approved indoor lighting and unplug the tree before going to sleep or leaving the house.
Also, make sure to close your bedroom door at night, and have an escape plan that includes a family meeting spot in case of a fire.