A Maryland family’s home suffered extensive damage after an old tradition led to their Christmas tree catching fire. The family had decorated their tree with regular candles instead of the electrical lights and ornaments that most families use today. The candles caught the real tree on fire, which quickly spread to the rest of the house. Firefighters estimated that the fire caused $1.1 million in damages and warned residents to never use lit candles on Christmas trees.
Around 200-300 Christmas tree fires occur each year in the United States. They result in 14 deaths, 26 injuries and $13.8 million in property damage every year. A common reason for the fires is the residents’ putting a heat source too close to the Christmas tree. Improper disposal of Christmas trees is another common cause. Residents may wish to consider contacting companies that recycle trees or turn them into mulch for other uses.
The National Fire Protection Association provides many tips for preventing fires related to Christmas trees, including the following:
- For artificial trees, choose one that the manufacturer certifies is fire retardant
- For real trees, choose one whose needles do not fall off when touched
- Keep trees at least three feet away from any source of heat
- Replace any string of lights that are broke or have loose connections
- Do not connect more than three strings of light together
Anyone injured because of negligent fire safety may wish to consult a Maryland personal injury lawyer. For more information on preventing fires, contact Justin M. Beall, a Maryland personal injury attorney, at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis L.L.P.