1. Do not allow the tree to dry out;
  2. Use only single extension cords;
  3. Turn off the lights when you go to bed;
  4. Use UL approved lights and cords;
  5. Make sure lights have  cracked lamps or frayed cords

Fires Due to Christmas Trees

In January of 2015, tragedy stuck a family near Washington DC.  It happened when a  15-foot Christmas tree became dried out and  powered a massive mansion fire that killed Maryland  grandparents and four of their young grandchildren. Although other family members advised authorities that the family had intended  to remove the tree from the house the day after the fire, it was too late. Instead, wiring that was underneath the dried-out Christmas tree powered a fire that spread so quickly the family couldn’t escape.

Reports show that between the years of 2013and 2017, U.S. fire departments responded to an average 160 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year. These fires caused an average of three deaths, 15 injuries, and $10 million in property damage yearly. On average, one of every 52 reported home fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 135 total reported home fires. Electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in 44% of home Christmas tree fires. In one-quarter (25%) of the Christmas tree fires, some type of heat source, such as a candle or equipment, was too close to the tree. One-fifth (21%) of Christmas tree fires were intentional.  Roughly three-quarters of Christmas tree fires occurred in December or January. Two of every five (39%) home Christmas tree fires started in the living room. It is a sad reality that the holidays bring hidden dangers that we need to be aware of and protect our families against.

Fortunately, through the use of due diligence and following the safety tips of the experts, many of these accidents can be avoided.  At the Law Offices of Laura Payne-Hunt, Esq.,, we are committed to providing information and expert advice to help our readers keep their families safe all year round and avoid the perils of the Holiday season.  By reading this blog, you will gain valuable information and tips that many of us don’t even think about to keep you and your loved ones safe during the holiday season. As an accident injury attorney in Henderson and Las Vegas for the past 18 years, I have seen a lot of tragedies that could have been avoided.  Although we are available 24/7 to help injured victims, at, we are also committed to helping prevent tragedies and keep our clients and readers healthy to enjoy the Holiday season. As a direct result of so many Holiday accidents, the experts have provided the recommendations herein to keep people safe.

The NFPA and other fire departments recommend make the following safety recommendations to prevent Holiday tragedies: 

  • Make sure string lights have no loose connections, cracked lamps or frayed cords.
  • Use only a single extension cord that can reach your home’s outlet without being too long and being tangled.
  • Use UL-approved lights and cords.
  • Make sure lights are off when you go out and before you turn in for the night.
  • Make sure all outdoor light connectors are away from metal rain gutters and off the ground.
  • Never use candles to light or decorate a tree.
  • To lessen the chance of a fire hazard, purchase a freshly cut tree.
  • Make sure to keep your tree at least three feet away from any heat source.
  • Water the tree every day, and remove it from your home after Christmas or once it becomes dry. 
  • Don’t burn Christmas tree branches or wrapping paper in your fireplace.
  • Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that could burn. 

              Christmas trees aren’t the only item you’ll need to be careful with. The D.C. police also reported that two out of every five home decoration fires are started by candles. The four most common days for candle fires are Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, police said. 

  The National Christmas Tree Association is the professional trade association representing farmers and sellers of Christmas Trees throughout North America. NFPA estimates that Christmas trees, both natural and artificial, were the item first ignited in an estimated average of two hundred and fifty reported home structure fires per year during 2003-2007. These fires caused an estimated fourteen civilian deaths, twenty six civilian injuries, and $13.8 million in direct property damage per year. These estimates are based on data from the U.S. Fire Administration’s (USFA’s) National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) and the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA’s) annual fire department experience survey.

During the same period, holiday lights and other decorative lighting with line voltage were involved in an estimated average of one hundred seventy  home structure fires per year. These fires caused seven civilian deaths, seventeen civilian injuries, and $7.9 million in direct property damage per year.  In order to keep you and your loved safe, our staff at urge you to follow the following safety measures which are listed by The National Safety Council:  

Christmas Trees

  • Try to select a fresh tree by looking for one that is green. The needles of pines and spruces should bend and not break and should be hard to pull off the branches. On fir species, a needle pulled from a fresh tree will snap when bent, much like a fresh carrot. Also, look for a trunk sticky with sap.
  • Cut off about two inches of the trunk and put the tree in a sturdy, water-holding stand. Keep the stand filled with water so the tree does not dry out quickly.
  • Stand your tree away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources. Make sure the tree does not block foot traffic or doorways.
  • If you use an artificial tree, choose one that is tested and labeled as fire resistant. Artificial trees with built-in electrical systems should have the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) label.
  • An average of 210 home structure fires begin with Christmas trees and result in 24 fire deaths, 27 fire injuries and $13.3 million in property damage.

Tree lights

  • Only use indoor lights indoors (and outdoor lights only outdoors). Look for the UL label. Check lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Replace or repair any damaged light sets.
  • Also, use no more than three light sets on any one extension cord. Extension cords should be placed against the wall to avoid tripping hazards, but do not run cords under rugs.
  • Turn off all lights on trees and decorations when you go to bed or leave the house.

Tree ornaments

  • Always use the proper step stool or ladder to reach high places.
  • Read labels before you use materials that come in jars, cans and spray cans.
  • Never place lighted candles on a tree or near any flammable materials.
  • Avoid placing breakable tree ornaments or ones with small, detachable parts on lower branches where small children or pets can reach them.
  • Do not hang popcorn chains and candy canes on the tree when small children are present. They may think that other tree ornaments are also edible.

If you have a question regarding any type of personal injury, please don’t hesitate to call the offices of and speak directly to attorney Laura Payne-Hunt, Esq. a Henderson Injury Attorney for over 15 years.  Laura is recognized as one of Nevada’s Top 100 Lawyers. She has the experience and knowledge to obtain the maximum settlement you deserve. Please call our office if you or if a loved one is injured. We can make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve and advise on how to preserve evidence.  

At our office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the compensation they are entitled to.  Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities. They want to pay as little on every claim as possible.  Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.   

          At the Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury Law Offices of Laura Payne Hunt, PC at,  we are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents and tragedies occur. For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury Henderson offices. is a boutique, family owned law firm in Henderson that specializes in helping injured people and the community with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, and all types of injury claims.  Please do not hesitate to call us anytime you have a legal question or you or a loved one has sustained an injury at 702-450-(HUNT) 4868 and text 24/7 at 702-600-0032.