abc
QUICK LINKS:

Christmas Tree Dried Out? Firefighter Explains How Dangerous They Can Be

Updated: 12/28/2013 11:57 PM
Created: 12/28/2013 6:19 PM WDIO.com
By: Alan Hoglund
ahoglund@wdio.com

With the holidays winding down, now is the time to toss out your Christmas trees. That is, if they're real. The Superior Fire Department says that when they dry out it doesn't take much for it to go up in flames.

Battalion Chief Steve Edwards says keeping a dried out tree in your living room is no different than a pile of kindling, or a ready-made campfire just waiting to burn. "Once it goes, it burns very fast and very hot, and it does a lot of damage."

Edwards said everyone should witness how serious it can be for themselves. "It will be fully engulfed in 10 or 15 seconds," he said.

Edwards pointed us to video from the National Fire Protection Association. You can see some of the video above. In it, they light two trees at the same time. One of the trees is dried out and the other had been watered regularly.

In just five seconds, the video shows flames on the dried tree reaching the ceiling. After a minute and a half, there isn't much left. But the watered tree was hardly charred.

Eyewitness News stopped at some tree recycling spots to get your reaction to the video.

"Holy cow," Jacob Gruwell, of Duluth said. "That's crazy."

Gruwell tells us he had no idea a fire could get so big, so fast.

When Brady Vidovic saw the video, he said "oh wow...I'm glad we watered our Christmas tree. That's amazing."

Just three days after Christmas, the Duluth man was dropping off his old tree at Chester Bowl, saying preventing a fire is part of the reason he's already taken it down.

The NFPA says an average of 230 home fires in the United States started with Christmas trees between 2007 and 2011. On its webpage, the association said "although these fires are not common, when they do occur, they are likely to be serious."

According to Edwards, they're not as common as when he started with the Superior Fire Department two decades ago.

Why?

"Over the years we've noticed a drop in use of real trees," Edwards said. He also said people are being more cautious.

So, if that tree is still standing at home, what should you look out for that could start a fire?

Edwards said "the most common thing is faulty wiring, lighting on the tree." He said candles, fireplaces and space heaters that are a little too close could light the tree too.

"It doesn't take much to get the tree to start on fire."

To find out where to get rid of your tree for free, click here.

Front Page

  • Superior Murder Trial Delayed after New Evidence Released

    Juan Leonardo Padilla, 40, of Fort Mohave, Ariz., is charged with the shooting death of 46-year-old Terrance Rodney Luukkonen of Duluth last May. Luukkonen was shot outside his workplace at Genesis Attachments in Superior.

  • Homemade Audio Unveiled During Day 2 of Byron Smith Murder Trial

    It was a homemade recording inside Byron Smith's home. The hand held device was next to Smith's chair during the shootings. Smith didn't turn it over to police, or even tell them about it. Investigators found the evidence while searching Smith's home the day after the shootings. Although it was 6 hours long, 14 minutes of the audio clip were played in court Tuesday. 

  • Construction to Begin on Last Major St. Louis County Road Damaged by 2012 Floods

    While the devastating floods of 2012 may be a distant memory for some, there are still some visible scars left - including on one western Duluth road. 57th Avenue West and Highland Street is the last major St. Louis County road still damaged by the flooding.

  • Duluth School Board Approves Plan to Help Sell Central High

    One of Duluth's most scenic vantage points - the Central High School property, has been up for sale for most of four years, but still sits empty. On Tuesday night, school and city leaders took a step to do something about that: a formal working arrangement has been made.

  • Minn. Clergy Members, Doctors Voice Support for Medical Marijuana Legalization

    Medical marijuana is a hotly-debated issue this session, and on Tuesday more than 100 doctors and clergy members headed to the Minnesota State Capitol to show their support for its legalization. The group includes representatives from the Minnesota Nurses Association, Minnesota AIDS Project, AFL-CIO, and the United Food and Commercial Workers union. 

 
Advertisement