Christmas Morning Fire That Began From Tree Lights Kills Pennsylvania Father And Two Sons

A father and two of his sons were killed in a Pennsylvania house fire that officials believe originated in the family’s Christmas tree.

The Christmas morning fire in Quakertown resulted in the deaths of Eric King, 41, and his sons, Liam, 11, and Patrick, 8, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. Their two dogs also reportedly died in the fire.

King’s wife, Kristin, and the couple’s oldest son escaped the blaze and were treated and released from a hospital, the publication reported.

Quakertown Fire Marshal Douglas Wilhelm told The Washington Post “there’s nothing left” following the fire, which could make a definitive cause difficult to determine.

“We will be continuing to investigate to find out why it ignited, but the evidence is very clear that it started in the Christmas tree,” Quakertown Police Chief Scott McElree told the Bucks County Courier Times “ ... It was such a hot fire that most of the content where it started is burnt.”

One of the boys was found in a hallway, and the other was discovered in a bedroom with his father, fire department officials told Smoke detectors were not working in the home, the publication reported.

The police chief said the tree may have ignited “as a result of Christmas lights,” according to KYW-TV.

Quakertown is about 45 miles north of Philadelphia.


Bill Harner, superintendent of the Quakertown Community School District, shared news of the deaths with “unbearable sorrow.” Liam was a fifth-grader at Richland Elementary School, while Patrick was a third-grader.

“This news is devastating to the school district community and the Quakertown area at large,” Harner said in a statement.

“Eric and Kristin and their boys are very active in our community. The school district sends its heartfelt sympathy to the King family and their many friends and relatives.”

A GoFundMe said Eric and Kristin “were high school sweethearts and the happiest people you will ever meet.”

King coached for about eight years in the Quakertown Youth Baseball Association. The association’s president, Michael Bianco, said King “had an infectious personality — very fun-loving. Loved to laugh,” The Washington Post reported.

“He made so many sacrifices for the kids he coached and for his own family,” friend and fellow coach, Mike Harris, told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “Knowing him and the kind of guy he was, I know he would have never not tried to save his family. He never would have left that dwelling while that situation was ongoing. I’m sure he would have done anything to get everyone out.”

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