Neighbor: Durham woman was ‘emotionally distraught’ after Christmas tree fire

December 20, 2018
Christmas tree catches fire in Durham home

Everybody managed to escape safely after a Christmas tree caught fire, damaging a Durham townhome early Wednesday morning.

The fire, at 2106 Front Street, caused heavy fire damage to both floors of the two-story townhouse and to the attic at about 1:25 a.m..

Residents said they lost everything to the fire, and one woman in the house was hospitalized for smoke inhalation.

Residents told firefighters that the Christmas tree was on fire, as was the ceiling above the tree.

The residents of the unit that caught fire managed to get to safety before the flames raced through the townhouse as a neighbor went door-to-door to make sure everyone was aware of the danger.

“I went out and saw huge flames basically coming out of the house,” Undes Wen said.

Wen lives three doors down from the unit where the fire broke out. He said he was sad to hear it was a Christmas tree that caught fire, but grateful his neighbors are all safe.

“It’s a tragic situation and I think all neighbors weer trying to comfort the lady. She was obviously emotionally distraught. We were really trying to make sure she wasn’t too traumatized, but it’s hard, ” he said.

The Red Cross was assisting two people who lived in the townhouse Wednesday night.

Fire officials urge individuals to keep their Christmas trees 3 feet away from any heat sources, including fireplaces, candles, vents and radiators. Individuals should also keep their trees watered.

Residents of the home where the fire broke out said their fireplace heater, which was near the tree in the back of the townhouse, was on.

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