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Officials: Real Christmas trees pose fire danger inside home

Published On: Nov 28 2012 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 29 2012 05:45:10 PM CST

The holidays are here, and many of you may be on the hunt for the perfect Christmas tree.

READING, Pa. -

The holidays are a wonderful time of the year. but if you're not careful keeping up with your tree, it could pose a serious fire hazard.

"That Christmas tree is first and foremost like a bomb in there if it's dry and it ignites," said Todd Iaeger, Reading fire marshal.

When you bring a real tree into your home, Iaeger said make sure you cut one to two inches from the base of the tree trunk and keep the tree hydrated.

"You want to check that water level everyday at that base of the tree stand. Look down and make sure there's a puddle of water in there constantly," said Iaeger.

If not, Iaeger said, any type of electrical spark could cause a flash over. Video provided to 69 News showed exactly how quickly a Christmas tree fire can spread.

"Everything in the room that's combustible, combusts, ignites, burns at about the same time. We're talking temperatures that are well over 1,100 degrees," said Iaeger. "You see an entire room engulfed in flames in 47 seconds."

Christmas tree fires often ignite due to electric wiring from lights and plug-in sockets. Iaeger said those fires occur with fake trees, too. Candles also burning near a tree or decorations could cause a fire.

The safest area you can place a tree in your home, Iaeger said, is against the wall in the middle of a room.

"A corner fire can rapidly extend across the room," said Iaeger.

Families can be safe this holiday season, Iaeger said, by making sure your decorations are flame resistant, keeping candles away from the tree and replacing any lights that are worn or have broken cords or loose bulb connections. Also, Iaeger said, make sure smoke detectors are working.

These simple steps, Iaeger said, can ensure a safe holiday season.