Christmas tree lights blamed for Reedley house fire

The Fresno BeeDecember 30, 2013 

A Reedley home caught fire early Monday morning from Christmas tree lights that were left on, Reedley Fire Battalion Chief Tim Garrison said.

When firefighters arrived to the home shortly after 3 a.m., flames were blazing out of the windows on both stories of the two-story home.

The occupants, a married couple, left the lights on their Christmas tree plugged in all night in the living room. The couple had the tree for about three weeks and watered it twice, Garrison said.

When the man woke to the sound of smoke alarms, he kicked out the screen of the master bedroom window, and he and his wife jumped out onto the roof. The man then jumped to the ground, found a ladder in his backyard and helped his wife down from the roof.

Garrison said smoke detectors saved the couple's lives.

The couple's two sons, ages 8 and 14, were staying the night at their grandmother's house. Garrison said the situation could have been very different if they were home.

The house was a complete loss.

Though the Christmas tree is not officially the cause of the fire, Garrison said it propelled the fire. The ceiling above the tree was completely burned through and collapsed. Part of the second floor also collapsed into the front of the house.

Though the couple didn't report any injuries at the scene of the fire, the man went to the hospital later for a hip injury and the woman said she suffered minor injuries from crawling down the ladder.

The family will stay next-door with relatives meanwhile.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6679 or bvaccari@fresnobee.com

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