'Stay out of the woods' by avoiding fires
QUINCY, Il. —
The Quincy Fire Department holds this annual tree burning demonstration every year to show how quickly a tree can go up in flames. Firefighter Jerry Smith says he's witnessed too many tragedies during his 18 years of fighting fires.
"The images of the families that have basically lost everything and especially the kids outside the home with the Red Cross and Salvation Army there to help them," said Smith.
If you have a real tree, Smith says watering it every day greatly decreases its chance of catching fire.
"You don't want a dry tree. You don't want those needles dropping off," Smith explained.
For those of you who use artificial trees--you're not out of the woods. Fake trees can be just as dangerous.
"With the artificial trees, just like putting lights on a real tree, you want to check the wiring," Smith cautioned.
And when you're done with your tree, Smith recommends contacting your local township to properly dispose it.
"Don't leave a dead tree sitting in a garage. Don't leave it up against the house because the same thing can happen just in a different area," said Smith.
That would be a fire, which in this demo, took only two minutes for the entire room to be engulfed in flames.
While these demos only last a few minutes, Smith says there's an image permanently burned in his mind -- children.
"Crying in the parent's arms. That's the image that really sticks and we don't want that to happen to anyone. Especially this time of year," recalled Smith.
Firefighters also want to remind you to never place your Christmas tree near a heat source and never use candles near the tree.