Christmas Tree Believed to Be Cause of Pennsylvania House Fire That Killed Dad and Sons

With millions of Americans leaving their trees up until at least after New Years, it’s a reminder to always be aware of the danger.

When Christmas trees dry up, they can become a dangerous fire hazard that could cause your home to go up in flames.

Officials believe that's what happened on Christmas day at a home in Pennsylvania. A family was asleep inside when a blaze erupted, quickly engulfing the entire home.

Dad Eric King and two of his sons, 11-year-old Liam and 8-year old Patrick, did not make it out. Mom Kristin and her eldest son, 13-year-old Brady, survived.

“It's still under investigation, but it appears the Christmas tree was the cause of the fire,” Quakertown Police Chief Scott McElree said.

It takes less than one minute for a Christmas tree to become fully engulfed in flames, as seen in a demo by the Nassau County Fire Department.

Fire Safety Chief John Murray says most people keep their live trees inside way too long.

“We recommend the tree shouldn't be in the house any longer than ten to fourteen days,” Murray said.

There is extra concern this year, as families bought their trees earlier than ever due to the nationwide shortage.

“People don't keep them hydrated, they put them near radiators or near the fireplace and they dry out very quickly. That's a disaster waiting to happen,” Murray said.

He says being prepared for a fire is just as important.

“Smoke detectors — people need to make sure they have them in working order, every level of the house, in every bedroom. Having these in the house and a practiced exit plan for the family goes a long way,” Murray said.

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