Child’s death brings attention to Christmas tree dangers

WASHINGTON, N.C. (WITN) – With more Christmas trees going up in houses, so should the fire safety measures.

Fire officials in Winston Salem say a child died in a deadly house fire Tuesday that started from a real Christmas tree catching on fire while and grandmother and two of her grandchildren were inside. Firefighters say the fire started because of a lighter.

The fire happened on Fanning Pointe Lane, and firefighters say that the grandmother and one of the children made it out of the fire but the other child, unfortunately, did not.

Ireland Bateman, a mom with a 4-year-old son, says she stopped putting up real Christmas trees due to the fire hazard with a young child in the house.

“My husband used to be a fireman, so we only have artificial trees now. A couple of years ago, we used to have a real tree but having my son at home, I was paranoid about making sure there was water in the tree all the time and leaving the lights on when we were away. That scared me,” Bateman said.

Lieutenant Josh Ingram of the Washington Fire Department says house fires are getting more dangerous and hot, calling for more precautionary measures.

“The products that we have in our houses, the furnishing we have in there are man-made products and they are burning very fast and very hot so we need to be very cautious about taking care of not overloading the circuits in our house when we have a lot of Christmas lights this time of year and candles on the window,” Lieutenant Ingram said.

Ingram added that using a surge protector, moving flammable things away from dry Christmas trees, and having a fire extinguisher in reach could help significantly.