According to the statement, the 41-year-old father and his two children, 11 and 8, were reportedly killed in a Christmas morning fire. The fire was started by lights on the family’s Christmas tree, officials said. Fire officials reportedly said that the smoke detectors in the home were not working at the time of the blaze. It remained unclear when the smoke detectors were last checked and who bore responsibility for their functioning.
The 41-year-old man from Pennsylvania, Eric King and the his two children, Liam, 11, and Patrick, 8, died when the sudden blaze tore through their family home around 1:15 a.m., according to reports.
Two dogs were also killed. The man’s wife and mother of the victims escaped with her oldest son. They suffered minor burns, police said.
Police Chief Scott McElree said: “The evidence is very clear that it started in the Christmas tree. It was a real tree. A Christmas tree burns very quickly and very hot.”
According to reports, fire officials reportedly said that the smoke detectors in the home were not working at the time of the blaze. It remained unclear when the smoke detectors were last checked and who bore responsibility for their functioning.
The blaze also destroyed the twin house attached to the house. The family next door was reportedly able to escape unharmed.
A GoFundMe Page started on Saturday had by Sunday raised $525,445 for the family, who were very active in the town’s youth baseball program.
Organizer Kristin Randazzo wrote: “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 Youth Baseball Association and spent their days and nights at the baseball fields.”
The school district said the Kings are the kind of people who make this a special place to live and attend school in a statement posted to Facebook Saturday.
Police Chief Scott McElree also said: “It’s horrendous. 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.”