Father and two sons are killed in house fire in early hours of Christmas morning after lights on tree spark blaze

A DAD and his two sons were tragically killed in the early hours of Christmas morning in a deadly fire reportedly started by the lights on the family tree.

Eric King, 41, and two of his children, eleven-year-old Liam and eight-year-old Patrick, died in the quick-moving blaze that erupted in their home on Saturday.


His wife Kristen and 13-year-old son Brady managed to escape the fire but were taken to the hospital for treatment.

Two of the family's dogs also died in the accident, the Bucks County Courier Times reports.

Fire units were called to the home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, at around 1.20am on Christmas Day, Quakertown police confirmed.

Emergency responders found one-half of a twin home ablaze.

The flames were reportedly so intense that emergency services were unable to enter the home to battle the fire.

"It was such a hot fire that most of the content where it started is burnt," Scott McElree, Quakertown’s chief of police, told KYW-TV.

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“Right now, it’s our understanding that we’re looking at the Christmas tree that may have ignited as a result of Christmas lights on that Christmas tree,” he added

"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.

McElree explained that a Christmas tree "burns very quickly and very hot,"

"When the tree goes dry, it's a violent and robust source. There is an immense amount of heat and that probably contributed."

The home next door was damaged but the family inside luckily managed to escape without injury.

Karen Hammerschmidt, who runs an organization called Quakertown Community Outreach and was at the scene overnight, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the neighbor narrowly managed to get out in time.

“She literally got out with the clothes on her back; her and her son and her dog, it’s a miracle that they made it out. The fire went up in minutes," she said.

'ALWAYS SMILING'

A GoFundMe has since been established to help Kristen and Brady as they battle with their grief at the loss of their family and home.

"In the early hours of Christmas morning, Eric and Kristin King’s home caught fire. Brady, their oldest son, and Kristin made it out, but Eric, Liam, Patrick, and their two dogs did not. Their entire home was destroyed by the fire," the campaign reads.

It states that the couple, who were high school sweethearts, were “always smiling and full of positive spirits”

It also adds that the family is a "huge part of the Quakertown Youth Baseball Association and spent their days and nights at the baseball fields."

“You just couldn’t help but to love them,” says the campaign organizer Kristin Randazzo 

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

It had raised $179,000 as of 3pm on Saturday.

SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS

"It's horrendous," McElree said, as he noted that the Quakertown school district had been notified.

"This impacts us all. This impacts our community, our families in general, the kids in the schools, and the people who know the King family. We're partners in this and we and the school district will do what we can to support everyone."

Thes distract also issued its own statement, revealing that it is "in the process of setting up a hotline of supports. "

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

"Mom and Brady, an eighth-grader at Strayer Middle School, thankfully survived. This news is devastating for the District community and the Quakertown area at large.

"Eric and Kristin are very active in the community, and the kind of people who make this a special place to live and attend school.

"The School District sends its heartfelt sympathy to the King family and their many friends and relatives."

The fire is still under investigation.


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