Christmas Tree Fire Sparks Holiday Safety Talk

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BOONE COUNTY - The American Red Cross was helping a Boone County Family Wednesday whose mobile home burned down Tuesday.

The fire broke out early Tuesday morning at the family's mobile home on Route M west of Ashland.

Firefighters said a shortage in the electrical outlet where the family had their Christmas tree plugged in was what started the fire.

The Southern Boone County Fire Protection District responded to the home around 2 a.m.

No one was harmed, but now the family is just trying to recover.

The Red Cross sent out volunteers Wednesday morning after it received a call from the fire department informing them of the situation. They were able to sit down with the family and assess what their specific needs are.

In all situations the Red Cross gives families "comfort kits" filled with toothpaste, toothbrushes, hair brushes and other essential items.

The Red Cross also provides families with a debit card so they can replace the clothes and other important items lost from the fire.

This family is staying with some relatives in Ashland, but if there weren't any relatives the Red Cross will put them up in a hotel for a few nights.

For this particular fire, the mobile home was considered a complete loss, meaning everything was destroyed. It was determined that damages totaled about $15,000 to $20,000.

The Columbia Fire Department said there are a few steps everyone can take to make sure their Christmas trees are safe.

Captain John Metz said if you have a real tree bring it home fresh.

"Cut off one to two inches from the bottom and put it right in water," Metz said.

He said to make sure trees are at least three feet away from any heat source.

Metz said if you're going to put lights on your tree, whether it's real or fake, you need to check them.

"Make sure they're tested by an independent testing laboratory, they should have a label on them indicating that. And turn those lights off when you are not home," Metz said.