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Officials: Christmas Tree Fire Razes N.J. Home

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Montclair, NJ house fire (credit: CBS 2)

Montclair, NJ house fire (credit: CBS 2)

MONTCLAIR, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A family of five had to run for safety as flames tore through their Montclair home. Investigators say the home is a total loss, and believe the blaze was sparked by a Christmas tree that somehow caught on fire, reports CBS 2’s Kirstin Thorne.

Fire officials say the family was inside when they heard the crackling fire even before their smoke alarm went off.

“Essentially it engulfed the room in 45 seconds. The family had enough time to get out,” one official said.

This is just a demonstration but it shows what can happen if you leave a Christmas tree near open flames, vents and radiators.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Christmas Tree and candle fires caused nearly $18 million in property damage across the country between 2006 and 2008.

“Check those smoke alarms to make sure that the batteries are current so if you do have a fire, that smoke alarm works,” said Inez Tenebaum, CPSC chair.

It’s not just Christmas Trees that can present fire hazards. Overloaded extension cords and the lights or lit candles on menorahs can also cause fires.

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