Seconds after spark: Fury of Christmas tree fires on display

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — New Haven students were on hand for a life lesson.

Their cell phone cameras were rolling as the New Haven Fire Department set up a makeshift living room complete with a dried out Christmas tree, then set it ablaze.

With one spark, it was seconds until devastation.

“The couch, the chairs, all fully involved. Picture that being in your own home, the more fuel load you have, the harder it will be for that fire to be controlled,” sad New Haven Fire Marshall Robert Doyle.

It’s a flashover, with the presents underneath the tree adding fuel to the fire.

“Trying to get out of that fire is almost impossible at that point,” said Doyle.

A tree without water for days makes it a basic fire bomb.

All that’s need is a spark or flame.

Leading causes of Christmas tree fires often include multiple plugs and cords into overloaded outlets.

Doyle suggest using “UL” verified cords and following directions.

Also, keeping space heaters at least three feet away from the tree.

For the young onlookers, a lasting life lesson.

“I got scared, and the heat it went to my forehead,” said one student.

Keeping Christmas trees properly watered is key, according to Doyle.

He suggests making sure a fresh cut is taken on the trees base, so it can access the water.

Doyle also says, if a tree has needles falling off, it’s too dry and ultimately, unsafe.

For more information on Christmas tree safety, click here.