Christmas tree likely caused fire

Tim Wieclawski/metro Ottawa


David Glasberg stands in front of the burned out remains of his house yesterday. Glasberg said his Christmas tree caught fire early New Year’s Day and the blaze spread throughout the entire house within minutes.

David Glasberg had just popped the cork on his New Year’s champagne when flames began popping in the boughs of his Christmas tree.

Within seconds, the tree was engulfed and in minutes the flames had spread throughout the house.

“My family just ran out very fast. The smoke was too strong, the lights went out,” Glasberg said yesterday, just hours after fire destroyed the house at 291 Scout St. where he had lived with his wife, 10-year-old daughter and 14-month-old boy.

Fire crews arrived on scene at 12:08 a.m. yesterday to find flames shooting out of all of the windows. Platoon Chief Paul Whitney said they’d yet to determine why the tree caught fire, but said the tree was the reason the fire spread so quickly.

“A natural Christmas tree can burn very hot and quickly, especially at this time of year.” he said.

The tree was set up in an open ceiling area that allowed the fire to jump to the second floor almost immediately.

Glasberg didn’t even have time to retrieve his wallet. All he could think as he watched the house burn, he said, was how happy he was that his family escaped.

They spent the morning at a neighbour’s house. Yesterday, Glasberg was focusing on recovering.

“I’m just thinking about everything we have to do and what arrangements we have to make over the next couple of weeks,” he said.

The initial damage estimate was $300,000 to the structure and $150,000 for contents.

Whitney said the fire collapsed the house on itself, making it too dangerous for firefighters to get in close. Crews remained on fire watch yesterday in case hotspots flared up again.

One firefighter suffered minor injuries.

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