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Albemarle County Fire and Rescue Gives Tree Safety Tips - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Albemarle County Fire and Rescue Gives Christmas Tree Safety Tips

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Thursday afternoon, Albemarle County Fire and Rescue conducted a live tree burning at its training center, showing how dangerous Christmas trees can be.

The fire crew built a life-like living room filled with holiday decorations, gifts and a Christmas tree. Then they sparked an electrical fire.

The fire started in the tree and within seconds, smoke was rolling out. In 45 seconds, heavy flames made their way into the ceiling of the room. The fire department says once a tree fire starts, the dryness can turn a small spark into a blaze.

Albemarle County's assistant fire marshal says an inch or two should be chopped off the bottom of the tree before you bring it inside. "This removes the sap that has hardened on the root of the tree," said assistant Fire Marshal Elie Jones. Sap is a key ingredient to starting a fire.

The fire marshal also says it's important to look for breaks in wiring. If you have a strand of lights on the tree and notice a few bulbs not lit up, there might be a short.

"Before you put them on the tree, lay them out. Look at each individual light, look at the wiring, make sure there's no breaks in the wiring," said Fire Marshal Howard Lagomarsino.

Your lights may seem relaxing but the fire crew says once you go to bed, it should be lights out.

The fire marshal also says you need to keep a close eye on animals around indoor trees, because cats can climb up trees and chew on the light cord.

The team hopes the demonstration burn will be the only tree-caused fire they have to put out this holiday season.

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