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Lexington told to get rid of Christmas tree

There's been some redecorating downtown, after it was discovered that City Hall had a live Christmas tree in the lobby. The fire department said it was a fire hazard.

Friday morning the tree was moved outside of the building.

Employees inside City Hall say they have had a live tree there for at least the past four years, and never knew they were in violation of a fire code. The question has been raised as to why now, and if recent disagreements over health insurance for firefighters resulted in the recent removal of the tree.

Lexington Battalion Chief Marshall Griggs says it insults the department's integrity that anyone would assume that it has anything to do with contract disputes. He says they received a call about the live tree from a citizen and that's when they contacted City Hall.

After it was brought to the attention of those inside on Thursday, arrangements were quickly made to relocate the giant tree.

"The tree is actually in violation of an ordinance that says you may not have a live Christmas tree in an area where the public assembles" said city spokesperson Lori Houlihan. "We're following the law and getting it out of here."

Volunteers, like Ron Turner, made the move possible. "We're just volunteers that want to help out and make this right" said Turner. "Make tragic into magic. Its going to work and people can enjoy it."

As of noon Friday the tree was up, outside, and the lights working. City Hall staff said they plan to put a fake tree up inside and hope to make putting a live one outside a tradition.

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