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West Fargo fire inspector offers tips to for safe decorating this holiday season

One West Fargo Fire Department inspector wants residents to keep certain things in mind as they put their Christmas trees up this year.

FARGO — As people decorate their homes this holiday season, one West Fargo fire inspector is reminding them to be mindful what's surrounding the Christmas tree.

"We want you to consider where you're placing the tree and what you're actually putting on it and around it. The No. 1 cause of Christmas tree fires is that heat source getting too close to that dried out tree," said West Fargo Fire Department Fire Inspector John Neeb.

Neeb said both live trees and synthetic trees are flammable, but live trees are especially dangerous since they can dry out.

"They can actually start your house on fire very quickly with how much fuel is on that tree," he said.

The pine needles that fall off of trees, live or synthetic, are also a hazard, maybe even more so off the tree than on.


"Needles on the ground can stab you in the foot, so, they could cause an injury that way," Neeb said. "But if you think about it, even if they're dry on the tree, they're gonna be even more dry off the tree cause they're not getting any water.

The tree itself isn't the only thing Neeb said people should be careful about.

"We want you to consider the lighting you're putting on and the extension cords that you're using. If it's old lights or an old extension cord that's frayed or broken, we definitely want you to replace that," he said.

When putting Christmas trees up, the location matters, as well.

"We also want to make sure that you're not putting a Christmas tree in front of your one way out of your house, or your second way out of your house," he said. "So, don't block exits."

Neeb recommends throwing Christmas trees out once Christmas is over.

According to the National Fire Protection Agency, almost one-third of home Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems.

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