If you want to find out the real background story on any number of water cooler questions, try:
Why is it dangerous to burn wrapping paper?
The fire is the wrong place for other holiday detritus as well - der Tannenbaum, for example.
My assistant Una had an Uncle Bob, a manly man who felt throwing the Christmas tree away was a waste of good firewood. So he tossed it in the fireplace - gave him a nice warm glow.
- what was glowing was the roof, presumably ignited by embers.
- the fire was small and anybody with a hose could have put it out.
- the hose was frozen solid and the fire department had trouble getting the nearest hydrant to work.
- the firefighters were able to throw a ladder up against the house and put out the fire with a chemical extinguisher. They then hacked off a small hunk of charred roof with axes, peered into the crawl space, and declared the fire out.
- having by now found an operational hydrant, the firemen declared they needed to hose down the roof "as policy," sending a torrent of water through the hole and collapsing the living room ceiling.
- Really unfortunately,
- the house that all this happened in belonged not to Uncle Bob but his in-laws. Bob bought them an RV and matters were pronounced square, but it was a lesson he won't soon forget, and neither should you.
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