Demonstration shows how quickly a candle and Christmas tree can destroy your home

Local

POCATELLO — It takes less than 10 minutes for a dry Christmas tree to transition from holiday decoration to the cause of a home’s destruction.

In hopes of showing the dangers of improper care during the holidays, Servpro of Blackfoot/Pocatello hosted a Christmas tree burning demonstration Wednesday in Pocatello.

With members of the Pocatello Valley Fire Department at the ready, a Christmas tree was sparked using a charcoal lighter. In minutes, the blaze had spread through the tree and, in normal circumstances, would have ignited the surrounding furniture and home.

According to Servpro Marketing Manager Lauren Egbert, Christmas decorations — like trees, candles and lights — are the cause in one-in-five December house fires.

“We all want to be Clark Griswold, but that’s kinda dangerous,” she said.

Christmas tree burning
The tree burns as firefighters stand by. | Kalama Hines, EastIdahoNews.com

Servpro does similar demonstrations regularly, Egbert said, including a turkey fry fire last year. This year though, they decided to “go all out” and build a room model then burn a decorated tree.

Their tree, Egbert explained, had been without water for just a week.

“One of the big things that we see during Christmas time is that people forget to water their trees every single day,” she said. “You have to water it every day, if you have a live tree, or it can dry out really quickly.”

Pocatello Valley FD checks for hotspots after extinguishing the tree
Pocatello Valley fire fighters check for hotspots after extinguishing the tree. | Kalama Hines, EastIdahoNews.com

Egbert also cautioned all to be mindful of their use of candle and to read manufacturer recommendations for Christmas light limitations.

“We don’t like seeing people lose everything, that’s hard.”

This demonstration was contained inside a controlled atmosphere, Egbert added. With tree and decorations often surrounded by things like furniture and window curtains, this fire could have easily spread into the structure of a home and completely destroyed it. Even if the fire could have been controlled at the point in the included images, this “home” would have required a massive amount of repair to rid the limited fire damage and smoke smell.

Servpro also recommends all homes keep an unexpired and operational fire extinguisher.

For more safety tips, follow Servpro of Blackfoot/Pocatello on Facebook — here.

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