OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma City Fire Department is releasing some safety tips after firefighters extinguished a Christmas tree fire.
Firefighters were called to a southwest Oklahoma City home Sunday night after a Christmas tree caught on fire.
Around 8:39 p.m. Sunday a family in the 11700 block of S.W. 24th Terrace was watching TV in their living room when they heard a popping sound.
They told firefighters they immediately noticed their live Christmas tree was on fire.
All family members were able to get out of the home safely, officials said.
Fortunately, firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze.
However, the home did suffer considerable smoke, fire and water damage.
Firefighters believe the cause of the fire is believed to have involved the lighting of the tree.
“It is not yet known if the cords were in poor repair, if too many strands of lights were used, or if the electrical outlets were possibly overloaded,” Benny Fulkerson, OKC Fire Department PIO, said. “Perhaps that can be determined once the fire is out and an investigation can occur.”
The family reportedly had another live Christmas tree upstairs, which they asked firefighters to remove from the home.
Fire officials say that although Christmas tree fires are not too common, they can be very dangerous and destructive.
“Our stance is that artificial trees are the safer way to go,” Fulkerson said.
However, for those choosing to get a live tree, the Oklahoma City Fire Department wanted to give a few tips:
- Choose a fresh tree to begin with; shake the trees, and choose the one that doesn’t drop needles when shaken
- It is recommended that before placing a live tree in a stand, 2 inches could be cut off of the base of the trunk (or holes could be drilled into the base of the trunk) to allow the tree to accept water more readily
- Keep the tree watered daily
- Do not place Christmas trees (live or artificial) in front of means of egress. Two ways out of every room and area of the home should be maintained
- Keep trees at least three feet away from heat sources such as candles, space heaters, floor furnaces, lamps, etc.
- Use lighting on the tree per manufacturer’s instructions being sure to connect only as many strands of lights as recommended
- Ensure that all cords are in good repair with no cuts, abrasions or other damage to the insulation of the cords
- Do not overload outlets
- Ensure the home has working smoke alarms inside each sleeping area, outside of each sleeping area, and on every level of the home