Christmas tree burn test

December 12, 2008 8:38:49 PM PST
Live Christmas trees can serve as the fuel, instantly sparking a fast-moving fire inside your home. It produces heat so intense that everything goes up in flames in a matter of seconds.

Watering your Christmas tree is the number one thing you should do to prevent a dangerous fire, but could products that serve as fire retardants help, too?

Four weeks ago Action News picked up six Frasier furs. We watered three of the trees then sprayed one with No Burn Christmas Tree Fire Gard, another with Fire Freeze Fire Block, and left the third one as is.

The other three trees we did not water, but treated two in that group with the same products.

A week later, we noticed that, strangely, our Fire Freeze Fire Block tree that was watered turned brown. The company believes the water allowed the tree to soak up more of the chemical.

Regardless, four weeks later we took all of our trees to the Bucks County Public Safety Training Center and enlisted the help of Chief Fred Hashagen and his team.

"If it keeps the fire down enough so people can get out that's the key for it; if it doesn't ignite at all that's great."

First we test No Burn Christmas Tree Gard. The treated unwatered tree is engulfed in about ten seconds. On the other hand the watered tree sprayed with No Burn ignites, but takes more than a minute and sixteen seconds to spread and eventually puts itself out.

"It did contain it. If you look at that tree, there is still a lot of material left; on that tree, it is a good treatment on it the whole thing comes down to keeping it watered though," said Chief Hashagen.

Next we tested Fire Freeze Fire Block. Remember even our watered tree was brown and brittle from the chemical. But the unwatered treated tree took only moments to become engulfed in flames. But check out the watered tree, although it caught fire it never gets engulfed and put itself out.

"It might give you enough time to get out of the house and preserve some of your house do a lot less property damage."

When you compare all three watered trees with each other, No Burn gave you a few more seconds to react, however Fire Block never allows the tree to flare out of control.

So how would these products fair on artificial decorations? We sprayed one wreath with No Burn and a second wreath with Fire Freeze Fire Block. Neither wreath ever becomes engulfed in flames and both wreaths fully extinguished themselves in a matter of seconds!

Chief Hashagen was impressed with both products.

"It gives you a little bit more time."

The President of No Burn told us he is very surprised by the results of our test. He told us in every other test of the product, including one conducted by Underwriters Laboratories, the trees did not ignite.

Spokespeople at Fire Block told us their product is not recommended for use on live trees.

**Note: No Burn spells it's Christmas Tree Gard with no "u" in the word Gard.**

For more information:
Christmas Tree Safety Tips
More Christmas Tree Safety Tips


Fire Freeze Fire Block Statement:

As far as your results go, we find them true to what the product does, yet a bit suprised that the dry tree did in fact burn. Fire Block works best on any class A material, wood being class A.

We feel that the sap within the dried tree created an entirely different fire. The sap can fuel the fire from within, which is what makes the pine tree burn so quickly. Fire Block cannot penetrate into the sap, that's most likely what burnt so quickly on the dry tree. It's also what creates chimney fires if you burn pine. We don't feel either product would have helped protect the dried out tree.

Fire Block is NFPA 225 and ASTME 84 tested and approved.

Fire Block is not recommended for use on live plants or trees, and unfortunately, as it did indeed help to prevent the tree from becoming engulfed in flames, it caused the discoloration as well. This does not happen on processed class A materials (paper, wood, ect.) and will not happen on artificial x-mass trees, wreaths or other decorations.


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