“My daughter screamed ‘fire,’ and I turned around to see my Christmas tree go up in flames.”

On the  Friday before Christmas at around 9:30 p.m. Doug Ashenden’s tree caught fire at his Elmsdale home just north of Huntsville.

After realizing his fire extinguisher wasn’t working, Ashenden grabbed the burning tree and tried picking it up, but it was nailed to the wall.  It finally broke free, and he headed straight to the back patio.

“If I was thinking like you’re supposed to, I should have gotten everybody responsibly out of the house,” he says.  “But no, I got the tree out.  Unfortunately, it was a good thing, but at the same time, probably the wrong thing to do.”

Ashenden suffered a small burn and minor scrapes but says he’s just fine.

His wife and three kids got out of the house safely by following the family's fire escape plan.

Fire prevention officers remind people the most important thing to do in these situations is to get out immediately.

“By taking the tree and trying to get out, he got lucky,” says Huntsville Fire Department’s Mike Vadjla.  “We don’t recommend that because it could have spread through the house.”

Fire crews say the home video is a clear example of how quickly trees can catch fire and encourage everyone to have working fire extinguishers just in case.