Christmas tree fire causes concern as number of holiday injuries skyrockets

Officials urge proper precautions

GRANT COUNTY, Ind. - The holiday season might be the most wonderful time of the year as the song says, but it can also be the most dangerous. 

New data reveals injuries due to holiday decorations are skyrocketing around the country. 

In Grant County Thursday night, a woman lost her home to a fire that was likely caused by her artificial tree. 

Bobbi Devine had just put up her artificial tree and attached the lights, then she left to run an errand. Not long after, her brother called and said to get home quick because the house was on fire.

"I'm surviving," Devine said. "Being a single parent, it's not always easy at Christmastime anyway."

The fire completely destroyed her home and killed three pets.

New numbers from the Consumer Product Safety Commission reveal injuries related to holiday decorations are on the rise nationwide, and jumped from 12,000 in 2009 to 14,000 this past year. 

A longer stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas means more caution is needed with live trees.

"Consumers are buying them earlier and earlier and that can cause problems," said Inez Tenenbaum, Consumer Product Safety Commission Chair. "Often people are having such a great time during the holidays that they forget to water the tree, which can lead to a terrible fire."

Live and artificial trees can both lead to disastrous results. 

"Make sure that the tree is properly secured so that children or pets playing around the tree won't knock it over," said Rita Burris of the Indianapolis Fire Department.

Checking the lights every year is key, and that includes making sure the wires aren't frayed and the bulbs aren't broken.

"Make sure they are appropriate indoor lights for a Christmas tree," said Burris. "Don't try to put lights that are not for indoor use or not built for a Christmas tree on a Christmas tree, because they have too much wattage for that tree and could set an artificial tree on fire."

Experts say live trees from drought states, like Indiana, are much drier and need more water. 

They recommend a fresh cut and then soaking the trunk of the tree in a bucket of water for a few days before putting it in a tree stand inside the house.

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