Warnings Issued After Christmas Morning Fire Sparked By Tree Lights Tragically Killed Dad And 2 Sons

Credit: Alexey Stiop / Alamy
A devastating house fire that took place on Christmas Day resulted in the death of a father and his two sons and now police are warning people to be extremely careful with their festive decorations.

While many people have put up Christmas lights as part of their decorations for the holiday, the public has been warned to keep an eye on them following the tragedy last year.

In December 2021, emergency services were called to a home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania where a fire had broken out overnight.

According to the Bucks County Courier Times, the fire reportedly started around 1:20 a.m. in a family's two-story home on Essex Court. Authorities said that early indications showed it was sparked by lights on the family's Christmas tree which was later confirmed after the investigation.

In a statement released at the time, Quakertown Police Chief Scott McElree said: "Three family members are deceased as a result of the fire. We are looking at the Christmas tree that may have ignited as a result of Christmas lights on that Christmas tree."

As per ABC7, investigators concluded that the fire took the lives of Eric King, 40, his sons, Liam, 11, and Patrick, eight, as well as their two dogs.

Eric's wife Kristin and their oldest son Brady managed to escape before the fire completely destroyed their home, officials added. They were then transported to hospital for further evaluation.

McElree also gave a warning to others, explaining the dangers of having a real Christmas tree in your home: "The evidence is very clear that it started in the Christmas tree. It was a real tree. A Christmas tree burns very quickly and very hot.”
Families have been warned to keep an eye on their Christmas tree lights. Credit: Folio Images / Alamy
After the news of the tragic incident, Quakertown School District Superintendent Bill Harner wrote a letter to the community in which he said that it was with "unbearable sorrow" that he has to address the locals.

"It is with unbearable sorrow that I share with you this Christmas Day the tragic news that the King family, in a house fire early today, lost their father and two children, Richland Elementary School students, Liam, a fifth-grader, and Patrick, a third-grader.

"Mom and Brady, an eighth-grader at Strayer Middle School, thankfully survived."

The letter continued: "This news is devastating to the school district community and the Quakertown area at large. 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. Please keep them in your prayers."

Update: The GoFundMe page has been taken down. Dear Quakertown School District Community families. It is with...

Posted by QCSD News on Saturday, December 25, 2021

The outlet reported that firefighters tried their best to rescue the victims inside the burning building, but when they eventually managed to get inside, they were pushed back out due to the intensity of the flames.

The impact of the fire also forced residents in a neighboring home to evacuate their building too. No one was injured during the removal.

"I couldn't see anybody, so I thought that they got everyone out, but it was sad to realize that not everybody was saved," said Wilson Martinez, a neighbor in the area.

Members of the community launched a GoFundMe page to help the King family after the incident, which raised over $608,000.

"The Quakertown community will be deeply impacted by this great loss," read the description. "Please help Brady and Kristin feel the love and support of the community as they deal with healing from this horrific tragedy."

A year on and the description was updated to confirm that no more donations were being accepted by the family through GoFundMe.

While most Christmas lights are used each year without incident, it is always best to thoroughly check them over to ensure no faults or damage has occurred during storage - and any faulty lights should never be used.

Energy-saving LED Christmas lights also emit less heat as well as save money on electricity bills, and surge-proof extension leads are advised, as well as never overloading a socket.

Rest in peace to all the victims of this unfortunate accident. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected.

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