Three members of a Pennsylvania family of five, including two children, perished in a horrific house fire early on Christmas morning.
Eric and Kristin King’s home in Quakertown in the southeast of the state caught fire while the family slept after Christmas tree lights malfunctions and sparked the blaze.
The entire house was destroyed by the blaze. Tragically, kids Liam, 11, and Patrick, 8, together with their father Eric, 41, and their two dogs were killed according to the Bucks County Coroner.
Mother Kristin made it out alive together with her eldest son, 13-year-old Brady.
Eric and Kristin King’s home in Quakertown in the southeast of the state caught fire while the family slept. Eric, 41, was killed along with his two youngest sons, Liam, 11, and Patrick, 8. Mom Kristen and eldest son, Brady, 13, escaped with their lives
It’s believed the blaze started after Christmas tree lights caught fire
The fire department were on scene at around 1:30am on Christmas morning
The flames were out well before daybreak but the home was smoldering for several hours
The true devastation of the home could be seen once daylight arrived
Firefighters worked for hours in order to put out the flames
The pair were taken to Lehigh Valley Hospital for treatment and later released.
At one point, firefighters were able to get inside the home but were pushed back by the intense flames.
Officials say firefighters made several attempts to rescue the victims trapped inside the home but were simply unable to reach them.
Kristin and son, Brady, were able to escape out of the rear of the home.
The Christmas tree was in the center of the front window of the house.
Liam and Patrick both attended Richland Elementary School in the fifth and third grades. Their brother Brady, who survived, is an eighth-grader at Strayer Middle School.
Mother Kristin was able to escape the blaze but everyone else in this photograph perished
Only the bricks of the home appear intact. The wooden frame and roof completely destroyed
A family of four living in the home next door, on the right, were able to escape unharmed
Firefighters tried several times to get into the home but were beaten back by the flames
Quakertown police said fire units were called to Essex Court shortly before 1:30am on Saturday to find half of a twin home ablaze.
Bucks County Coroner Meredith Buck said the other side of the twin home was damaged but there were no fatalities.
‘Right now, it’s our understanding that we’re looking at the Christmas tree that may have ignited as a result of Christmas lights on that Christmas tree,’ Scott McElree, Quakertown’s chief of police, told KYW-TV.
‘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. It was a real tree. It was such a hot fire that most of the content where it started is burnt.
‘A Christmas tree burns very quickly and very hot,’ McElree explained. ‘When tree go dry, it’s a violent and robust source. There is an immense amount of heat and that probably contributed.’
The chief also said the wooden stick-frame construction of the home also likely helped push the fire along.
Quakertown police said fire units were called to Essex Court shortly before 1:30am on Saturday to find half of a twin home ablaze
It took firefighters about an hour before the blaze was under control
‘Right now, it’s our understanding that we’re looking at the Christmas tree that may have ignited as a result of Christmas lights on that Christmas tree,’ Scott McElree, Quakertown’s chief said
‘It’s horrendous,’ McElree said. ‘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.’
A state fire marshal, borough police, the fire department and the coroner’s office are investigating.
‘I couldn’t see anybody, so I thought that they got everyone out, but it was kind of sad. Really sad to realize that not everybody was saved,’ said Wilson Martinez of Quakertown said to 6ABC.
‘It’s sad. This didn’t have to happen. It’s a tragedy,’ said Jacob Kratz to Fox 29.
The family home next door was also destroyed in the fire, but luckily a family of four, were able to escape without injury.
Less than nine hours after the blaze, a GoFundMe page set up to help Kristin and Brady has generated more than $295,000.
‘Eric and Kristin were high school sweethearts and the happiest people you will have ever met. 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 fundraising page stated.
‘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.’
A state fire marshal, borough police, the fire department and the coroner’s office in Quakertown, Pennsylvania are investigating the blaze
The school district posted a message on social media about the tragedy
Although Kristin King, right survived, two of her three sons died in the tragic blaze on Saturday
On Facebook, the Quakertown Community School District issued a statement that read:
‘Dear Quakertown School District Community families. It is with unbearable sorrow that we share with you this Christmas morning the tragic news that the King family, in a house fire early today, lost their father and two Richland Elementary School students, Liam, a fifth-grader, and Patrick, a third-grader.
‘Mom and Brady, an eighth-grader at Strayer Middle School, thankfully survived. This news is devastating for the District community and the Quakertown area at-large. Eric and Kristin are very active in the community and the kind of people who make this a special place to live and attend school.
‘The School District sends its heartfelt sympathy to the King family and their many friends and relatives. The administration is in the process of setting up a hotline of supports.
‘Thank you, and please hug your family a little tighter today.’