VIDEO: Dry Christmas tree burns, destroys 'room' in seconds

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

Once a Christmas tree catches fire, it takes just seconds for it to spread to the entire room.

"Even though Christmas has passed, the danger from our Christmas tree fires is not even close to being done," Capt. Larry Subervi of the Phoenix Fire Department said during a demonstration that showed just how fast a dry Christmas tree can go up in flames.

The total elapsed time from when the fire was sparked to when firefighters doused it and mopped up the hotspots – 4 minutes and 14 seconds.

[WATCH: Raw video of Christmas tree fire demonstration]

“Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home,” according to the National Fire Protection Association.  “Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are much more likely to be deadly than most other fires.”

[RELATED: Where to recycle your Christmas tree in Phoenix metro]

The numbers tell the story.

“On average, one of every 32 reported home fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 143 total reported home fires,” according to NFPA.

[RELATED: Brothers honored as heroes after saving kids trapped by Christmas tree fire]

Fed by a dry tree -- literal tinder and firewood -- these fires more exceptionally fast.

“Literally within about 15 seconds, we go from small ember to a fully engulfing Christmas tree fire,” Subervi explained. “We’ve had a couple of these so far this year, had some kids that were burned in one of the fires.

[READ MORE: Christmas tree fire sends Phoenix boy to hospital]

“This is a small demonstration,” he continued. “Imagine that if this was [sic] in a house full of furniture how quickly a fire like this could become fatal.”

It does not take much to ignite a Christmas tree fire – heat from a nearby chimney, a flame from a nearby candle or even the lights on the tree.

The best thing you can do to protect your family and your home is recycle your tree as soon as possible.


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