Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - 7:30am
Firefighters who responded to a Christmas Eve fire on Madison's eastside ask people to check the condition of their Christmas trees every day. Make sure that the tree stand is filled with water and remove a tree if the needles are dry or falling off the branches. A dry Christmas tree can ignite easily, burns very quickly and produces lots of heat.
The fire that caused $20,000 damage to a home at 801 Valley Road did not involve the Christmas tree. However, the tree was very, very dry and close to the flames. Firefighters were surprised that the tree did not ignite from the nearby flames and heat.
Three dogs and a cat were the only ones home at the time of the fire. Firefighters and paramedics used pet oxygen masks to resuscitate two of the dogs who were found unresponsive in the home. An animal control officer responded to the scene and transported the pets to a veterinarian.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Firefighters remind everyone of these safety tips:
• Add water to the tree stand daily.
• Remove the tree when it begins dropping needles.
• Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home.
• Madison Streets Division will begin collecting Christmas trees for recycling on January 3. Please visit their Web site for rules and schedules: http://www.cityofmadison.com/streets/Seasonal/holidayTree.cfm
• Install smoke alarms on every level of the home, in each bedroom, and outside each bedroom.
• Test your smoke alarms every month.
• Make an escape plan and have a fire drill to practice your plan.
• When the alarm sounds, get out and stay out.
• After you have escaped, call 9-1-1 from a safe place.
• Never go back inside the building for any reason.
- Eric Dahl, 608-261-9845