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Christmas tree fire only holiday incident in Hall
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Hall County celebrated a quiet Christmas -- with the exception of a Christmas tree fire -- but the Georgia State Patrol has reported four deaths so far during the Christmas holiday driving period.

A small Christmas tree caught fire Thursday morning and caused damage to a home on Shallowford Road. Fire Marshal Scott Cagle said a call came in at 11:15 a.m. Firefighters arrived to the two-story, wooden-frame house and saw light smoke showing.

Firefighters believe an electrical fire spread to a small Christmas tree.

"The fire appears to have started in the area of a small artificial Christmas tree. The three-foot tree was plugged into a large diameter extension cord that overheated. We are unsure if the failure was the pre-lit tree itself or in the extension cord," Cagle said.

The basement living room where the fire occurred suffered approximately $5,000 in damages. The family was not displaced by the fire, Cagle said.

Cagle said fires related to Christmas trees are fairly common, however they are usually caused by live trees that are not properly watered.

Across the state, only four traffic deaths had been reported as of 6 p.m. Thursday. One death each was reported by the Georgia State Patrol posts in Calhoun and Villa Rica and the DeKalb County and Clayton police departments. There also were 760 wrecks resulting in 208 injuries, reported in the same time period, according to the Georgia State Patrol.

The 102-hour Christmas holiday driving period is measured from 6 p.m. Wednesday to midnight Sunday. The Georgia State Patrol predicts 2,945 wrecks resulting in 1,494 injuries and 19 deaths across the state. In 2007, there were 3,039 wrecks on Georgia roads resulting in 1,158 injuries and 18 deaths.

It also was quiet on Christmas Day at the world's busiest airport, as few delays were reported at Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta. Wait times hovered at less than 15 minutes, and security lines boasted even shorter times. The Federal Aviation Administration said most airline flights at the airport were on time despite the cloudy weather in Atlanta.

Airport spokesman John Kennedy said Christmas tends to be a "very, very light passenger day" - one of the season's lightest.

Senior content editor Edie Rogers, staff writer Melissa Weinman and the Associated Press contributed to this story.

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