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State Fire Marshall: Promptly Dispose of Christmas Trees
03:40PM / Monday, January 04, 2021
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STOW, Mass. — The State Fire Marshall Peter J. Ostroskey urges Commonwealth residents to promptly dispose of their Christmas trees.

"Start the new year off right: promptly dispose of your Christmas tree," State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey said. 
"A dried out Christmas tree will ignite quickly and spread a fire very fast."

Dried Out Trees Are Fuel for Fires Indoors and Out

Over the past few years, there have been several fires involving Christmas trees that had dried out. If trees are up early, they can dry out before Christmas. 

"Keep the tree watered, and away from all heat sources. After Christmas, dispose of your tree promptly," Ostroskey said. "If a fire should start for any reason, a tree will help spread the fire extremely rapidly."

On Jan. 3, 2020 at 4:30 p.m., the Westfield Fire Department responded to a Christmas tree fire in a single-family home. The fire began in the living room. No one was injured. The home did not have sprinklers and damages were estimated to be $160,000.

On Jan. 6, 2020 at 9:59 p.m., the Belmont Fire Department responded to a Christmas tree fire in a single-family home. The fire began in the living room where a nearby candle ignited an extremely dry tree. Smoke alarms operated and no one was injured. The home did not have sprinklers and damages were estimated at $2,500.

Disposal of the Tree

Take advantage of community pick-up days or recycling programs, many of which start next week. To find out if your community has a Christmas tree recycling program, contact your local public works department or recycling committee.

The Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has information on Christmas tree recycling at: https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/2018/02/05/xmastree-recycling.pdf. Some local goat farms accept bare tree and wreath donations as they are looking for greens things to eat.

On Jan. 2, 2020, at 5:15 p.m., the Sheffield Fire Department was called to a chimney fire in a restaurant. The owner was trying to burn a Christmas tree in the fireplace. No one was injured at this fire.

"Don’t put your Christmas tree curbside until the day of pick up to avoid providing an opportunity for arson," Ostroskey said.

On Dec. 27, 2019, at 9:01 p.m., the Quincy Fire Department responded to an outside Christmas tree fire that had been intentionally set on fire.

On Dec. 31, 2019, at 11:13 p.m., the Fall River Fire Department responded to an outside Christmas tree fire. The tree was on the sidewalk ready for curbside collection when it was intentionally set on fire.

For more information on fire safety, contact your local fire department or the Office of the State Fire Marshal at 1-877-9 NO FIRE or on-line at www.mass.gov/dfs.

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