For one family, showcasing a live tree this holiday season spoiled Christmas after the fir tree caught fire, leaving the family homeless.
Nicola Jayne Jackson, 33, told Metro that her family’s presents, belongings, and home were burned down just a few weeks before the holiday. She said:
“I am absolutely traumatized and still can’t believe what has happened.”
According to BBC, the West Wales fire department confirmed electrical lights on the Jacksons’ six-foot Christmas tree caused a fire while Nicola, her daughters Nia, 9, and Eva, 6, and her husband Bradley Jackson, 32, were sleeping.
As reported by Independent, Nicola recalled:
“I was upstairs asleep in bed and my husband was downstairs watching a film and fell asleep on the sofa.
Our dog, Bella, woke me up barking and jumping at me and I thought she wanted a wee. So I went downstairs and shouted at Bradley about letting her out, but then saw black smoke coming from the living room.”
She noticed around 11 p.m. that her front room decorated for the big day was up in flames. The family was only able to escape the fire because Nicola was woken by her dog barking.
The mother of two had to drag her sleeping husband out of the house after she rescued her daughters. She said:
“I keep praising my dog Bella and it may sound stupid but she’s so clever and literally saved our lives.”
The Jacksons were forced to move into a hotel due to severe smoke damage. Nicola said:
“This isn’t what Christmas is about and I don’t want my kids thinking that it is.
We should be having a normal Christmas like most families, it just breaks my heart.”
Her children asked:
“Will Santa still visit us?”
Family and friends set up a Justgiving page to help the family.
Home repairs will likely not begin until February.
According to fire officials, between 2011-2015, Christmas tree fires caused an annual average of 16 injuries, six deaths, and “$14.8 million in property damage,” reports WCNC.
North Carolina Fire Battalion Chief Matt Westover said:
“We’ve seen it in person how fast a fire can destroy a Christmas tree and how quickly it can extend into the house.
The most important thing is to water the tree regularly.”
With Christmas a few weeks away, officials issued a warning about tree safety.
For more holiday safety tips, watch the video below: