Magazine article USA TODAY

Now to Avoid Holiday Hazards

Magazine article USA TODAY

Now to Avoid Holiday Hazards

Article excerpt

Nearly 40% of home fires ignited by Christmas trees occur in January-long after gifts have been unwrapped. To show homeowners what can happen when a dry Christmas tree catches fire, Erie (Pa.) Insurance and the town's Fire Department staged a blaze in a vacant home. The result? A Christmas tree conflagration can fill a room with toxic smoke in 30 seconds and burn down an entire living room in one minute. In this particular staged scenario, the home was completely engulfed in flames in five minutes.

"Many people love their Christmas decorations and choose to leave them up for a few weeks after the holiday but, when it comes to a dried-out live Christmas tree, that's a dangerous risk to take," says Gary Sullivan, vice president of Property and Subrogation Claims. "We want families to enjoy the postholiday season safely; we don't want them to be displaced from their homes due to a fire or, even worse, caught in a life-threatening situation."

Proper care and maintenance of a Christmas tree can go a long way to make sure you and your family, as well as your home, are protected this season. …

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