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Fire hazard prompts recall of artificial Christmas trees sold at Menards

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Reports of lights overheating, melting or smoking has prompted an Eden Prairie company to recall about 1,800 pre-lit, artificial Christmas trees sold exclusively at Menards.

Seasonal Specialties LLC is advising those who have purchased the 7 1/2-foot tall Twinkling Pine, equipped with 400 LED lights, to immediately unplug the tree and return it to the store for a refund.

The affected trees have model numbers 287-1261 and UPC codes 741895425478.

The National Fire Protection Agency says between 2007 and 2011, U.S. firefighters responded to an average of 230 house fires that started with Christmas trees each year -- more than a third were due to electrical malfunctions.

While dry, non-artificial Christmas trees are a commonly known fire risk, some artificial trees can be just as hazardous.

Underwriters Laboratories Inc., a safety research company, is advising those putting up holiday decorations to look for cracked sockets and frayed wires. Those items should be thrown away.

The company says to also keep an eye out for UL's seal of approval on products before purchasing them and always unplug tree lights before going to bed or leaving home.

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