Two Christmas tree fires in one day caused a Los Angeles city fire official to remind residents to unplug drying trees and outside decorations when they are asleep or not at home.
“It takes seven years to grow a Christmas tree and less than seven seconds for the tree to become completely lost to fire,” said the Los Angeles Fire Department’s Brian Humphrey.
A dried Christmas tree and faulty electric lights were blamed for a fire at 9:15 p.m. Wednesday in the 800 block of North Soto Street in Boyle Heights, said Humphrey.
Firefighters responded to a call of smoke in the ground floor of a two- story garden-style apartment building. “They found a neighbor applying a dry fire extinguisher to the fire,” he said.
Firefighters coaxed one dog out of the apartment and found another dog inside, rescuing that dog too, Humphrey said.
Damage was estimated at $2,500 to the structure and $500 to the contents, he said. There were no injuries. The neighbor with the fire extinguisher was credited with limiting the damage.
“Some presents were charred by salvageable,” Humphrey said.
The second fire was reported at 9:37 p.m. Wednesday in a one-story home in the 13000 block of Pinney Street in Pacoima, he said.
“Ten residents were alerted by a working smoke alarm and got out uninjured,” Humphrey said.
They were using a garden hose to try to control the fire when firefighters arrived, he said.
The damage was estimated at $200 to the structure and $500 to the contents, Humphrey said. The smoke alarm gave residents time to leave and limit damage with a garden hose.
“The common element here was dry Christmas trees and faulty electric lamps,” he said.
Trees get dry and lights get old, Humphrey said. It is safest to unplug indoor and outdoor lights altogether when the user is not awake or not at home.
Christmas trees should be disposed of as quickly as possible after the holiday, he said.
Humphrey added firefighters would revisit the residents whose whose trees caught fire on Christmas eve to try to help replace some presents through the Spark of Love drive.