FDNY Called Grinches After Removing Illegal Christmas Trees

1:36 PM, Dec 20, 2012   |    comments
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New York-- The Fire Department of New York has been removing illegal Christmas trees from NYC apartment building lobbies, inciting anger from residents for dampening holiday spirit.

CBS New York reports that live trees are "combustible" and pose as a fire hazard. Many apartment building lobbies have fake trees, but live ones are not allowed.

And many New Yorkers, who consider lobbies an extension of their home, do not appreciate the FDNY coming in and taking their holiday decorations.

"It's like 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas,' and not just Christmas, but all holidays that are celebrated," Upper West Side building resident Sonya Chodry told WCBS-TV's Deriicke Dennis.

Click on WCBS to see story 

Chodry said firefighters came and took the Christmas tree out of her lobby last week and put it outside, by the building's entrance.

"Somebody didn't like it, came along and called the fire department," Chodry said.

Linda Burke, and Upper West Side parent, wasn't too thrilled about the tree-removing either.

"Oh, that's too bad. It kind of kills the Christmas spirit," she told WCBS-TV.

According to the city's fire code, it's unlawful to display highly "combustible goods" in common areas. WCBS gained access to the FDNY training video, which shows an unattended Christmas tree burning up in seconds.

"The problem is they're so combustible when no properly cared for, it's a danger for the occupants," FDNY Deputy Chief Dan Donoghue told WCBS.

Donghue said no firefighter wants to steal Christmas. His firehouse even has its own live tree. But he said live trees in building lobbies have to be removed.

"It's something we'd rather not do, but for the safety of the building, it's something we have to do," he said.

The solution for the FDNY is displaying the trees by the window outside of the lobby

WCBS/CBS News

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