Fire Department to set Christmas tree ablaze to stress safety

The Virginia Beach Fire Department is going to light up a Christmas tree on Monday to drive home its message to be careful with those indoor trees around the holidays.

Fires that start with a Christmas tree are not common, but when they do happen, they are “much more likely to be deadly than most other fires,” the Fire Department said in a release.

The Fire Department did not have stats available on how many Christmas tree fires the city has seen or the last time it has happened.

Nationwide, an estimated 210 house fires per year began that way between 2009 and 2013, causing an annual average of seven deaths, 19 injuries and $17.5 million in direct property damage, the release said. One in every 31 reported home Christmas tree fires results in a death, compared to an average of one death per 144 total reported home fires, according to the Fire Department.

Common causes include frayed wires from tree lights, other electrical malfunctions and some kind of heat source, such as a candle, being too close to the tree.

The Fire Department will be setting a tree on fire on Monday for the media to show how quickly it can go up in flames. In November, the department held a demonstration the week of Thanksgiving to stress the danger of fires caused by the misuse of deep fryers.

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