Davenport drill demonstrates Christmas tree safety

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It's a festive holiday scene. Bright lights decorate the fresh Christmas tree. Wrapped presents wait to be opened. A couch is ready for guests.

But that changes in seconds. A shrieking smoke detector and telltale crackle lead the way to a fire on Friday morning.

"It happens faster than most people think," said Lt. Mark Kakert, Davenport Fire Department.

In this demonstration by the Davenport Fire Department, smoke and flames fill the staged scene.

It sparks important reminders. Half of Davenport homes in working fires don't have working smoke detectors. Families also need to have clear exit plans.

"If you see the tree burning and call 9-1-1, it's still going to take us three to three and a half minutes to get to your house," Lt. Kakert said.

This fire burns for just two minutes. During that time, Lt. Jeff Coonts uses thermal imaging to detect people and problems.

"You can walk right through the house with this camera," he said. "It lets you see through the smoke."

A couch is a casualty of the demonstration. It illustrates damage to a real house.

When these fires happen, they tend to be more deadly and costly. Damage from them totals more than $17 million each year.

These are lessons about safety and celebrating this holiday season.

"We're not trying to show people that having a real Christmas tree isn't a good thing," Lt. Kakert concluded. "But let's make sure that we're safe before we bring it in the house."

For a demonstration going from decoration to destruction in seconds, it's a timely drill for the season.

Click for more info -->Christmas Tree Selection and Care tips from Davenport Fire Department