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For many people, holiday celebrations involve having a Christmas tree in the home. But holiday festivities can come to a screeching halt if that Christmas tree catches on fire and causes property damage, personal injury or even death. 

Christmas tree fires not only put a big damper on the spirit of the season, but they can also be more dangerous than other types of fires. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that approximately 1 in 31 Christmas tree fires result in a death. That's compared to all reported home fires, wherein approximately one in 144 fires results in a death. 

Christmas tree fires can also result in lawsuits. In 2009, a Christmas tree fire at the Milton Hershey School campus in Hershey, Pennsylvania, resulted in $3.4 million in damage to the school's Founder's Hall. Multiple defendants were named in that case, including:

  • The company whose workers set up the tree's lighting
  • The manufacturer of the tree's lights
  • Three companies involved in manufacturing the electrical adapter used for the lights
  • Companies responsible for installing and maintaining the building's fire alarm, sprinkler system, and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems

According to the NFPA, 30 percent of Christmas tree fires are the result of electrical failures or malfunctions, and 24 percent are the result of a heat source being situated too close to the tree. But as in the case of the fire at the Milton Hershey School, fires can also result from defective products

If your holiday celebrations involve a Christmas tree, make sure to keep your home and guests safe by taking extra care that your tree is away from sources of heat, and that the wiring of any lights is safe. And if you or a loved one get hurt or your property becomes damaged as the result of a Christmas tree fire caused by another's negligence or a defective product, contact a lawyer to discuss your options. 


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