Christmas Trees Can Be Torches
Photos courtesy Washington Daily News
TO ADD dramatic emphasis to its words of caution regarding Christmas trees and their decorations, the District of Columbia Fire Department invited members of the press, radio and TV to a 1963 pre-Christmas demonstration at its training center.
In one of its fire-resistive buildings, a tree was erected and decorated in a simulated living room. Then, with cameras in action, a tiny spark from the worn wires of the tree lights ignited cotton batting at the base. Within 60 seconds, the gaily decorated tree, after first becoming a roaring torch, was transformed into a charred, smoldering skeleton.
A series of pictures was published in the Washington, D.C., press and action movies were shown on TV. From the many comments received, the objective was attained—to make people aware of the potential danger in their homes and of the necessity of using caution.
Over the week-long holidays of 1963, only two Christmas tree fires were reported in the Nation’s Capital. Fortunately, the fires were confined to “room and contents.”