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Jeff Atwater warns against killer Christmas trees

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Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater has some consumer advice for Floridians during the holiday season: Don’t let your Christmas tree burn the house down.

“Christmas tree fires do not happen often, but they have the potential to be serious fires when they do,” Atwater said in his Department of Financial Services newsletter Wednesday.

“More often than not, these fires occur because the tree has not been properly watered and has become dried out and repeatedly exposed to multiple heat sources,” he said. “The mix of dry tree branches and hot holiday lights can quickly become a tragic combination.”

Make sure to top off the water in your tree stand regularly, lest it runs dry.

“Don’t place it next to your fireplace, radiator, or any candles that you may be lighting,” Atwater said.

“Also, make sure that you unplug your tree when you leave the house to prevent overheating. These tips sound simple — and they are — but you must make sure to follow them.”

He referred doubters to this truly scary video from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“In less than a minute, the entire room is covered in flames,” Atwater said.

“I don’t say these things to scare you, but I do say them, so you’ll remember to pay close attention to potential risks in your own house.”

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