Christmas decorations in Monticello Arcade considered fire hazards

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by Nick Ochsner, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on December 22, 2013 at 1:16 AM

Updated Sunday, Dec 22 at 1:20 AM

NORFOLK -- Shop owner Randy Hess said the trees dotting the Monticello Arcade are more than just holiday decorations. The festive greenery with its lights is an eye-catcher that helps draw in holiday shoppers.

It almost was lights out for the trees Friday when the Fire Marshal told business owners the trees along with wreaths and garland had to come down. The reasons given: The trees create a fire hazard when unattended overnight, and there is no sprinkler system in the building.

"We didn't expect it. We didn't expect that Christmas trees would be that big of a problem," Hess told 13News Now.

"Every house in America has a Christmas tree up right now or some sort of decoration," said Anna Akers, who owns Lorak Fine Jewelry. "I understand having codes for our safety and for the general public not to get hurt by walking through here and having something fall on them, but they're just Christmas decorations. They're not hurting anyone."

Akers and Hess explained the shops pooled their money to buy the decorations.

The Fire Marshal said businesses have until Monday to remove them.

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