Randy Yohe Published

Live Demonstration Shows Danger Of A Dry Christmas Tree

A blaze shooting out a garage door.
A dry Christmas tree in a living room set up catches a spark and burns.
Randy Yohe/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The crackle from the blaze was palpable as students from the five Putnam County high schools, Buffalo, Hurricane, Poca, Teays Valley Christian, and Winfield High watched a bone-dry Christmas tree in a living room filled with presents burning to a crisp.

The live safety demonstration was set up by the Putnam Career Technical Center’s Emergency and Firefighting Management Services Class.

Poca volunteer firefighter and EMT student Nick Felber said it can take less than 30 seconds for a dry tree to burn down most of your living room.

“A simple spark near a dry Christmas tree can present a serious fire in the household,” Felber said. “It is imperative to keep your tree well-hydrated and at a minimum of three feet away from external heat sources to lessen the chance of a Christmas tree fire.” 

Felber offered other holiday safety tips involving your live Christmas tree. 

“Keep it away from radiators, heating units and fireplaces,” Felber said. “Don’t put lit candles on the branches, and do not overload extension cords connecting the lights.” 

Felber said practice tree safety habits to have a safe and healthy holiday season, because it only takes a moment to turn a joyful time into a tragic one.