Christmas Tree Fire Kills Man, 2 Sons

Mother, another son escape as blaze spreads to house next door
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 26, 2021 4:50 PM CST
Christmas Tree Fire Kill 3 in Family as 2 Others Escape
Stock photo.   (Getty/MattGush)

A fire apparently started by lights in a home's Christmas tree killed a Pennsylvania man and two of his sons early Christmas morning. The children's mother and another son were able to get out of the house with only minor burns. The victims were Eric King, 41, and his sons Liam, 11, and Patrick, 8, USA Today reports. Officials said that while they're investigating what sparked the blaze, which began about 1:20am, "the evidence is very clear that it started in the Christmas tree," said Police Chief Scott McElree. "It was a real tree."

The intense heat kept first responders out of the house for a while, per CNN. "The front door and front window were blocked, fire was advancing to the entire home at that point," said Fire Marshal Doug Wilhelm. "It was very difficult for firefighters to make a safe entry." The fire spread to the attached house next door; that family escaped unharmed. Two family dogs also were killed. Both homes were destroyed. "It's horrendous," McElree said, adding, "This impacts our community, our families in general, the kids in the schools and the people who know the King family." (Read more house fire stories.)

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