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CFD warns about fire dangers of Christmas trees, space heaters

CFD demonstrates Christmas tree fire dangers
CFD demonstrates Christmas tree fire dangers 00:46

CHICAGO (CBS) -- As more people pull out space heaters and Christmas trees for the season, the Chicago Fire Department wants to make sure everyone is using them safely.

In a demonstration Tuesday, experts with the Chicago Fire Department showed just how quickly a fire can spread.

In a box in the parking lot of the Quinn Fire Academy, 558 W. De Koven St., the CFD set up a festive holiday scene with a Christmas tree bedecked in lights. The tree was flanked by stacks of wrapped gifts on either side, and various other flammables – plush toys, a fluffy pillow next to a table lamp.

When a fire was started behind the tree, whole tableau quickly went up in roaring flames – until being extinguished by a firehose.

Chicago Fire Department warns of live Christmas tree risk 00:25

Officials also had tips to keep your family safe.

"If using space heaters, plug them directly into the outlet – and never use extension cords. Ensure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source like fireplaces, radiators, candles, or heater vents. Also, turn off your Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed," advised Chicago Fire Commissioner Annette Nance-Holt.

Officials also emphasize that you need to make sure your home has working smoke detectors.

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