An electrical problem in an artificial Christmas tree sparked a fire that caused more than $100,000 damage to house in Woodway Wednesday afternoon.
The fire was reported around 12:25 p.m. in a two-story house in the 23700 block of 112th Place West. “Smoke alarms woke a woman who was sleeping in an upstairs bedroom. The Christmas tree was in flames when she came down the stairs to the living room,” said Leslie Hynes, public information officer for Snohomish County Fire District 1, which provides fire and emergency medical services to the Town of Woodway.
The woman used her cell phone to call 911. “Thanks to the warning from her smoke alarms, the woman was able to safely exit her home,” Hynes said. No one else was home at the time of the fire.
Firefighters from Fire District 1 and the Shoreline Fire Department quickly brought the fire under control. There were no injuries.
The fire was contained to the living room, but there was heavy smoke damage throughout the house. The residents – the woman, her husband and their adult son – plan to stay with neighbors. They have insurance.
Fire District 1 offers Christmas tree safety tips:
Picking the tree
· If you have an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant.
· Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
Placing the tree
· Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
· Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
· Cut 1–2” from the base of the trunk before placing in the stand. Be sure to add water daily.
Lighting the tree
· Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
· Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of LED strands to connect.
· Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
· Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed