A Pennsylvania dad and his two youngest sons were killed in a Christmas morning fire that was believed to have been started by lights on the family’s Christmas tree.
Eric King, 41, and sons Liam, 11, and Patrick, 8, died when the fast-moving blaze tore through their Quakertown home around 1:20 a.m. Saturday, the Bucks County Courier Times reported.
The wife and mother of the victims, Kristin, escaped with her oldest son Brady, the newspaper reported.
Two dogs were also killed.
“The evidence is very clear that it started in the Christmas tree. It was a real tree,” Quakertown Police Chief Scott McElree told the news outlet. “A Christmas tree burns very quickly and very hot.”
The fire destroyed the Kings’ home as well as the twin house attached to it, the news outlet reported; a family next door was able to escape unharmed.
A GoFundMe effort raised $423,383 by Sunday morning.
“Eric and Kristin were high school sweethearts and the happiest people you will have ever met,” organizer Kristin Randazzo wrote.“They were always smiling and full of positive spirits, you just couldn’t help but to love them. The three boys, Eric and Kristin were all a huge part of the Quakertown Youth Baseball Association and spent their days and nights at the baseball fields.”
The Kings are “the kind of people who make this a special place to live and attend school” the Quakertown school district said in a statement posted to Facebook Saturday.
“It’s horrendous,” McElree told the Courier Times.
“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.”
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