Holiday dangers: Fire expert discusses ways to avoid Christmas t - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Holiday dangers: Fire expert discusses ways to avoid Christmas tree fires

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JOHNS ISLAND, SC - There are things you might have in your home just this time of year and they are considered a serious hazard.

Holiday lights and Christmas trees are prevalent this season but one fire expert said the mixture can be deadly.

In a video from the National Institute of Standard Technology a simulated Christmas tree fire shows the tree, surrounding furniture and entire room go up in flames and fill with smoke in 42 seconds.

Battalion Fire Chief James Ghi of the St. Johns Fire Department said the drier the tree, the bigger the hazard.

"When people buy a tree one of the things they should do is check the needles," he said. "If the needles come off on your hand then the tree is dehydrated."

"What happens to these trees when they're cut from tree farms and brought to sale locations, the sap goes to the bottom and seals off the bottom of the trunk so therefore it doesn't absorb water," Ghi said, which makes it imperative to cut off the bottom of the tree and water it every day.

The disposal of the tree is equally important. Ghi said once they're taken outside for the trash they should not touch any part of your house or garage. Outside lights should be brought indoors to prevent additional hazards and always make sure to read labels and use outdoor lights outside and only indoor lights for inside of houses.

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