[cifnmedia] St. Louis FF house burns/Christmas tree cause

  • From: Sean & Kimberly Aaron <cifn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: CIFN LIST <cifnmedia@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 27 Dec 2003 09:59:24 -0800 (PST)

Copyright 2003 St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Inc.   
St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Missouri)  
 December 26, 2003 Friday Five Star Lift Edition 
A St. Louis firefighter and his family had their holiday shattered Thursday as 
a quick-spreading fire that began in the Christmas tree left a 14-year-old boy 
hospitalized, gutted the home and destroyed most of the family's belongings, 
authorities said.
The fire erupted about 2 a.m. at the home of firefighter Brian Holland in the 
7000 block of Parkwood Drive and was discovered by Holland's 9-year-old 
daughter, Danielle.

"The little girl said she saw the angel on the top of the tree catch on fire," 
said Kim Bacon, a spokeswoman for the fire department.

The live tree apparently was very dry and the fire rapidly took off, Bacon said.
Danielle awakened family members, apparently before the smoke detector could. 
Danielle and her mother, Jeannie, escaped through a side window of the 
single-story brick home and ran across the street to the home of a neighbor, 
Ruth Coker. "They were beating on my door, and Danielle was crying," Coker said.

"Danielle, she's my little buddy. She's precious."

Jeannie Holland called 911 from Coker's home.

Holland, meanwhile, gathered up his two sons - Jason, 16, and Brian, 14 - and 
the three fled the home before firefighters arrived. Brian, the son, was in the 
intensive care unit but listed in good condition at St. Louis Children's 
Hospital with burns and smoke inhalation.

Holland, the father, suffered numerous burns, but he did not require 
hospitalization. Jason, his mother and his sister were not injured.

Bacon, the fire department spokeswoman, said she did not know specifi cally 
what caused the tree to burst into flames. Coker told a reporter she heard 
firefighters say that hot lights may have ignited the dried branches.

The Holland family, through Bacon, declined interviews with reporters.

"The family has a place to stay, and firefighters already have collected $2,000 
for them," Bacon said Thursday afternoon. In addition, a charity has furnished 
some toys and clothes, she added.

"The only thing the family says they need right now are shoes," Bacon said.

Any donations for the family can be made at Engine House 7, where Holland is 
assigned, at 2600 LaSalle Street, at South Jefferson Avenue.


Sean A. Aaron (CIFN*1)
Central Illinois Fire Network

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