LAS VEGAS -- Early Christmas morning, Clark County Fire crews were busy cutting open the roof of Santa's Workshop at Town Square Shopping Center. A large artificial Christmas tree caught fire early Wednesday. All that remained was the burnt shell of the tree and smoke damage for Santa's home base.
Fire officials said an electrical problem could be the cause.
Whether trees are real or fake, they still pose a serious fire risk according to fire experts.
Tim Szymanski with Las Vegas Fire and Rescue said real trees can quickly lose moisture in our dry desert climate. If you miss a day of watering, the tree could become a fire risk.
"What happens in most cases is people water it one time, and they never water it again, and that becomes a volatile fire situation," Szymanski said. "They want to get rid of it anytime it starts being unfresh, and that means it's not getting any water, and it's a potential fire hazard."
Szymanski said the department does not want another deadly fire.
Ten people died in fires so far this year compared with three in 2012, but 2013 also showed some promise. No residents were forced from their homes from fires during holidays, including Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Eve.
"I think it is education, I think people are taking fire safety serious. They know they could be displaced. They'll be out of their homes. They could lose their gifts. They are following our directions," Szymanski said.
The city will likely set another milestone this year as calls for service continued to climb to record levels.
"We think for the first time in the history of the department we'll exceed 100,000 runs a year. As the city grew, the department grew, and the number of incidents grew," Szymanski added.
Fire department officials said fire safety boils down to everyone staying vigilant and using common sense.