How to keep your family safe from holiday fire hazards

Experts warn against holiday fire hazards
Posted at 4:08 PM, Nov 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-25 20:52:56-05

CINCINNATI -- Tracy Roblero said her life changed forever on Christmas six years ago.

Her daughter, Julianna, still bears the scars from that day.

Not even 2 years old at the time, Julianna wandered into the restroom at a Christmas party. She was on the counter playing with the mirror when a tealight candle caught her dress on fire.

"She was in flames,” Roblero said. “I could hear the screams of her and my nephew who was in the bathroom with her as well… I had to pat the flames down with my hands, and she suffered third degree burns.”

Officials said candles and Christmas trees are major fire hazards in November and December.

Greg Potter, district fire chief for the Cincinnati Fire Department, said Christmas trees can easily catch fire -- especially if they’re dry.

In partnership with Shriner’s Hospital for Children, the Cincinnati Fire Department demonstrated how quickly a Christmas tree can go up in flames. Once the fire was started, flames could be seen within two minutes. Five minutes later, the whole tree was on fire.

Potter said the blaze is hard to control beyond that point.

"Everything else you see in the room will start off gassing,” Potter said. “So chairs, curtains… if you have a Christmas tree, make sure you're watering it every day. Don't put them close to the fireplace, and don't have a space heater near them."

Medical experts say serious burns can be initially treated with cool running water, and you should cover the wounds with loose fitting clothing until you can get to the hospital.