A fire believed to have been started by lights from a Christmas tree destroyed a family’s house in Pennsylvania, leaving a father and his two sons dead.
The tragedy occurred on early Christmas morning, Dec. 25, when a quick-moving fire tore through a Quakertown home around 1:20 a.m., the Bucks County Courier Times reported.
Police said that emergency officials attempted to enter the house but were prevented by the fire.
“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. It was a real tree,” Quakertown Police Chief Scott McElree said. “It was such a hot fire that most of the content where it started is burnt.”
Eric King, 41, died in the fire with his children Liam, 11, and Patrick, 8. King’s wife and the family’s oldest son escaped the blaze. Two dogs also died in the fire.
The family next door was able to escape unharmed.
In a statement on Facebook, the Quakertown school district said the family are “the kind of people who make this a special place to live and attend school.”
More than $350,000 had been raised in less than a day to donate for the family, according to an online fundraiser.