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Protect your home from a holiday tragedy

Posted at 5:17 PM, Dec 02, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-02 19:17:58-05

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - With the month of December underway, many people have already begun decorating for the holidays. Home candle and decoration fires peak this month. From strands of lights to Christmas tree displays,  there are a few safety tips to keep in mind before you start decking the halls. 

"You can go from a small Christmas tree fire to an entire room engulfed in flames in less than a minute and a half," said Tucson firefighter Barrett Baker. 
 
That's exactly what happened to a family in Maryland earlier this year. Investigators say an electrical malfunction caused their Christmas tree to catch fire. Flames eventually tore through their home and killed six people inside. 
 
"The important thing with that is to make sure we're watering the tree and keeping the tree moist," said Baker. "Those trees become very dry and at that point in time the danger really increases dramatically when it comes to those lights."
 
Here in Tucson over the weekend, fire fighters say a power strip malfunction started a house fire on the southeast side.
 
During the holiday's, it's even more important to know what you're plugging in. Using a surge protector can help limit unwanted spikes in electricity. Before you plug in any lights, make sure they aren't damaged or too old.
 
"Several years ago we had a fire that was related to the lights being up and being stapled through. So now that cord is damaged but electricity continues to run through that."
 
Firefighters also recommend turning off the tree lights once you go to bed and make sure you have working smoke alarms in every room.