Family’s home destroyed after Christmas tree catches fire in Pasco County

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A Pasco County couple is picking up the pieces after an early morning fire destroyed their home.

Fire officials said the fire started from the Christmas tree.

The homeowner returned to his house on Cessna Drive to view the extent of the damage. It’s visible from the roof and exterior of the house.

Officials said the home is uninhabitable.

Neighbor William Jackson saw the flames around 2 a.m.

“The fire was burning on the end of the building and it went up almost to the top of that tree. The flames were pretty high,” said Jackson. “There were maybe ten fire trucks. They were backed up, both sides of the road.”

The fire was through the roof when crews arrived at the scene.

“Our crews did an immediate interior attack, realized that the fire had already grown quite a bit, in a short period of time,” said Division Fire Chief Shawn Whited. “I don’t know what the exact extent to the cause at this time, but it was due to a Christmas tree right inside the front doors. That Christmas tree caught fire. That fire spread to the second floor and that’s what caused the fire this morning.”

Chief Whited said it’s unknown whether the fire was from lights on the tree or if the tree was the issue.

“This fire is one of the things that we talk about for several months leading up to Christmas,” said Chief Whited.

Everyone in the home made it out safely, including three dogs.

“Matt and Joanne were standing right here and Joanne was crying like hell. She was very upset,” said Jackson. “I said to her, what about the dogs? She said, ‘I got the dogs. The dogs are in the car.’”

Neighbors said they’re hoping to help.

“This would be terrible any day. You come out and see the house on fire across the street,” said Jackson.

Officials say the family is now staying with other relatives.

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