ATF to hold test burns on Christmas trees after mansion fire

AP News
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Posted: Apr 02, 2015 6:35 AM

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Fire investigators in Maryland are scheduled to hold controlled burns of Christmas trees as part of a continuing investigation into a mansion fire that killed six people near Annapolis.

The burns on three trees will be done Thursday at a federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives laboratory in Beltsville.

Investigators say the January blaze started as an electrical fire that spread to a 15-foot Christmas tree.

Special Agent Dave Cheplak, a spokesman for the ATF, says the burns are being done to gain a better understanding of how much heat a tree of that size can generate. He says the results will end up in a report in a matter of weeks or months.

The Jan. 19 fire killed Don and Sandra Pyle and four grandchildren.