Family of 5 in Grundy County loses home to Christmas tree fire
Source: American Red Cross
GRUNDY COUNTY, TN (WRCB) - Just days before Christmas, a family of five in Grundy County is without a home, after officials believe their Christmas tree caught fire.
The fire broke out around 8 o'clock Sunday night at a home off Plainview Lake Drive in Tracy City. Firefighters say when they got to the house, it was too late.
The fire was too intense to knock down. Now the family is starting from scratch just days before the Christmas holiday.
"There's not much left at all. The family lost their home, Christmas gifts for three grandchildren," says Tracy City Fire Chief Jay Langford.
Not much is left of the home, except for a pile of ashes. Langford says, thankfully, the homeowner, Mike Manley, was not inside when the fire broke out. Neither was his wife or three young grandchildren.
"We tried to save what we could. It got in the roof of the structure. It was too much of a danger to send an internal attack team in."
Chief Langford says an unattended, live Christmas tree with lights on may be to blame for the blaze.
"We do believe at this time that's what caused the fire," says Langford.
Past demonstrations show it only takes a matter of seconds for a Christmas tree to go up in flames.
"Once it dries out, it's like paper. It doesn't take much at all."
Langford says while the family does have insurance, the grandchildren are without a Christmas and in need of clothes.
"They're really in need of support. We're trying to support them as much as possible. We got several churches in the area that's trying to help support them," says Langford.
"Right now in Southeast Tennessee, we're averaging about one disaster a day," says Greg Waite, CEO of the American Red Cross of Southeast Tennessee.
Waite says the organization is helping the family with food and a place to stay. He says the winter season is always a busy time for disaster response but overall, it has been a taxing year.
In the 11 counties served in our area, the Red Cross has responded to more the 350 disasters, helping more than 300 families. He says this family and many others can use support.
"For anyone to suffer any type of loss days before Christmas, to lose everything, it's not a good situation for anyone to be in," he says.
If you are interested in helping this family, you can contact the Tracy City Fire Department at (931) 592-3473.