A dry, non-watered Christmas tree and a possible short in the string of decorative lights led to a fire inside a Santa Monica apartment on Monday.
The Santa Monica Fire Department said firefighters responded to reports of a possible structure fire in a residential/commercial structure at 815 Wilshire Blvd. on Jan. 5 at 3:55 pm.
Upon arrival, crews observed light smoke from a second floor window.
SMFD Fire Marshal Eric Binder said the apartment was equipped with sprinklers, which suppressed the interior fire.
“Firefighters managed to make entry via a second story balcony where they extinguished fire that extended onto the exterior patio,” Binder said. “The aggressive attack by firefighters and the installation of fire sprinklers limited damage to the complex.”
Binder said one civilian was treated for second degree burns at the scene and transported to a local hospital for further treatment.
“The occupant was injured while trying to remove a burning Christmas tree to the exterior of the building,” Binder said. “No firefighters were injured. The fire was knocked down at 4:07 pm. A total of four engine companies, a truck company, Battalion Chief and Fire Investigators were allocated to the incident.”
Binder said it appeared the fire was caused by several factors, including a dry, non-watered Christmas tree and a possible short in the string of decorative lights.
“The fire is a good opportunity to remind citizens that dry Christmas trees are hazardous and need to be removed from inside the house,” he said. “Never try to extinguish a fire yourself but rather ensure the safety of you and the other occupants of the building and call 911 and evacuate the structure immediately. Additionally, this fire represents the need and exemplary use of fire sprinklers as they controlled the fire until firefighters arrived.”
The Santa Monica Fire Department issued a statement saying it wanted to reaffirm that Christmas trees should be disposed of immediately after the holiday as they become very dry and hazardous.
“Please follow the proper procedures for the disposal in your area,” the statement read. “For Santa Monica, residents no longer need to cart their holiday tree to a City park. Rather, residents are encouraged to place their tree out for collection in their alley. If regularly scheduled trash and recycling are collected at the curbside and not in the alley, place trees at the curb on your scheduled trash collection day.”
The collection of the trees will last through Friday, Jan. 23. For questions regarding holiday tree pickup procedures, call City of Santa Monica Resource Recovery & Recycling at 310.458.2223.