KEY POINTS

  • The family's two dogs also died in the fire
  • The childrens' mother and her son were released after treatment in a hospital
  • The lights on the tree along with its dryness contributed to the fire: Investigators

A Pennsylvania father and two of his young sons died in a fire that engulfed their house on Christmas morning. 

Eric King, 41, from Quakertown, and his children Liam, 11, and Patrick, 8, died in a blaze that is believed to have been caused by lights on the family's live Christmas tree. The family's two dogs also died in the fire. King's wife Kristen along with her oldest son, 13-year-old Brady managed to escape the fire. They were released after treatment in a hospital, Courier Times  reported.

The fire started shortly before 1.30 a.m. on Christmas day while the family was on the second floor of their twin home. According to the preliminary investigation, the fire broke out from the tree that was placed in the center of a front window in the living room. The lights on the tree along with its dryness contributed to the fire, investigators said.

"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," Quakertown Police Chief Scott McElree said.

Kings’ home as well as the twin house attached to it were destroyed in the fire but the neighbor's family escaped without injuries, New York Post reported.

Meanwhile, the county and state fire marshal offices are helping the police investigate the case. However, McElree said the cause will be hard to determine because there was "nothing left." "It was such a hot fire that most of the content where it started is burnt," he said.

"A Christmas tree burns very quickly and is very hot. When trees go dry, it's a violent and robust source. There is an immense amount of heat and that probably contributed." McElree added.

A Go Fund Me page has been set up to support the devastated family and it has raised more than $609,972. "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," the campaign read.

fire-g62f4ba5c4_640 representational image Photo: pixabay