For Immediate Release: November 29, 2018

Contact: Ben Powell at 919-807-6008

Commissioner Causey shows how quickly a dry Christmas tree can burn

RALEIGH -- This holiday season, Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Causey is reminding North Carolinians to stay focused on fire safety, especially when it comes to the Christmas trees standing in their homes.

Earlier this week, Commissioner Causey, along with local fire officials, hosted a live Christmas tree fire demonstration in Fayetteville, N.C. to show just how quickly a dry Christmas tree can burn and spread flames throughout a room.

The demonstration included two live burns featuring a room with sprinklers and a room without sprinklers to reinforce the importance of smoke alarms and home fire safety efforts during the holiday season.

"A Christmas tree can be a beautiful addition to a home but if not handled properly, they can dry out quickly and turn into a dangerous fire hazard," said Commissioner Causey. "As everyone gets busier during the holidays, it’s easy to become careless and that’s when home fires are more likely to occur."

So far in 2018, there have been 124 fire deaths in North Carolina. Many of those deadly fires occurred in homes without the presence of a working smoke alarm.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, each year, U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 200 structure fires ignited by Christmas trees. Nearly half of them are caused by electrical problems, and one in four resulted from a heat source that was too close to the tree.

Between 2011-2015, Christmas tree fires caused an annual average of six civilian deaths, 16 civilian injuries, and $14.8 million in property damage.

Commissioner Causey offered the following safety tips to keep your family safe during the holidays:

For more information about fire prevention and safety, visit the North Carolina Department of Insurance and Office of State Fire Marshal website or to the National Fire Protection Association website.