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Christmas Fire (Read 2040 times)
qwerty
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Christmas Fire
Dec 26th, 2009 at 9:56pm
 
http://www.wfaa.com/news/local/christmas-tree-starts-house-fire-80116152.html

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Christmas tree triggers house fire in Flower Mound
by STEVE STOLER / WFAA-TV

Posted on December 25, 2009 at 5:39 PM

Updated Saturday, Dec 26 at 1:07 AM
******

FLOWER MOUND — It was anything but a merry Christmas for two Flower Mound families. Fire destroyed one family's home. The other suffered extensive damaged after their Christmas tree caught fire.

It was also a taxing night for firefighters, who needed help from at least three other departments.

With blustery conditions outside, Mike and Lisa Tobin and their four children spent Christmas Eve at home. As Lisa prepared their holiday dinner, Mike decided to light a candle with a long fireplace match.

As he lit the match, a small piece of the match tip ignited and flew off into the tree. He said it was less than 30 seconds before the tree was engulfed in flames.

"I grabbed it and tried to drag it out of the house," Tobin said. " Lisa tried to grab a fire extinguisher. By the time she got back, it was too hot to even get close to."

Flower Mound firefighters were already out battling a large house fire on Lavon Drive. More manpower was needed to help.

So firefighters from Double Oak and Carrollton responded to the Tobin residence fire.

"The kids, the wife — everybody is OK, so I'm happy with that," Mike Tobin said.

Flower Mound Fire Chief Eric Metzger said live Christmas trees can often be a fire hazard. Some are cut as early as late September.

"We'd love to see people look at their trees to see if they're dry," Metzger said. "If they are, get them out of the house. It's not uncommon to see this."

Tobin said he followed all the tips for keeping his tree safe. "We watered it. We did everything we did to keep it moist," he said. "Even so, it got torched."

After hearing about the other house fire, the Tobins say at least their house is salvageable, unlike the one on Lavon Drive, which was gutted.


Quote:
Community pitches in to help burned-out family

Cross Timbers Gazette - A bank account has been set up to assist a Marcus High School softball coach and her family after a Christmas Day fire destroyed their Flower Mound home.

Brenda and Dan Jacobs and their children watched their house in the 5900 block of Lavon Drive go up in flames on Christmas morning. No one was injured in the blaze, which was caused by the homeowner's attempt to thaw out frozen pipes with a blowtorch, according to Flower Mound Fire Chief Eric Metzger.

The Marcus softball booster club established a fund for the Jacobs family at Chase Bank under account number 861126704. Donations to the fund can be made at any Chase Bank location.

"We are overwhelmed and humbled by the generosity of all that have been in contact with us either in person or in spirit. We will never be able to truly thank each and everyone of you that has helped but know that you are all our special angels sent from God as a Christmas Miracle," said Dan Jacobs on a Facebook page that was set up to support the family.
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« Last Edit: Mar 31st, 2010 at 9:33pm by UmmYeahOk »  
 
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KittyFairy
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Re: Christmas Fire
Reply #1 - Jan 2nd, 2010 at 7:56pm
 
Yeah, I was on my to visit my mother and saw the fire. The roads were so bad we even though it was only 2-3 miles, we thought about not going. We had to let several fire department vehicles pass us, but it was difficult. With the snow there was no place to pull over, and with the ice, if we stopped we might not be able to go again. Dixon road was the worst, but the trucks managed to pass us. The house isnt that far from the station, but I bet due to the speed that they all had to drive at, it made the fire worse.

I was worried that it was my moms house, since she lives in that neighborhood, but since it was on the corner, its was easy to see that it wasnt. The entrance was blocked, but the exit remained open. I got out on foot and asked the cop if it was ok for us to enter but she said no so we figured wed just sit in the marcus lot till everything cleared. Luckily there was a second entrance that we did not know about.

When we arrived, my mom had no clue at all about the fire. She had just moved there, and did not know them. I also did not know them, as the last time I played softball at Marcus, it was 1996.
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UmmYeahOk
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Re: Christmas Fire
Reply #2 - Jan 19th, 2010 at 11:56pm
 
Quote:
Beauty from Ashes
Written by Kathy Hoster, Contributing Writer   
Saturday, 16 January 2010 10:07

It was tragic.  I had never seen anything like it in my life.  Not up close and personal.  You see, we live next door to Dan and Brenda Jacobs.  Their house burned down on Christmas morning.  Now, it wasn’t our house.  We didn’t lose a thing.  It didn’t happen to us.  But, boy has it affected us.

The Ashes
About 8:40 a.m. on Christmas morning, I took breakfast out of the oven.  We decided to take a break from opening gifts.  (With seven children it takes a while!)  We were planning to eat in the formal dining room which is usually reserved for special occasions.  My husband Jeff walked to the window to open the shutters for light.  He wasn’t expecting the light that he saw.  “Oh my gosh, the Jacobs house is on fire!” he said.  It was a horizontal line about 2 feet long on the gutter near the garage.  I ran to the phone and called 911.  I pleaded for them to hurry.  My husband was already out the door to get the Jacobs out of their house.  My oldest child Andrew (12) ran and got the fire extinguisher.  Jeff and Dan did all they could to squelch the flames.  There was no stopping the blaze.  We could hear gas pouring into the house.  I had even called Atmos for an emergency shut off.  Dan and Jeff had already taken care of that on their own but it was too late.  Selfishly I was afraid for my husband.  I kept yelling out to him to get away from the house.  I was afraid it would all blow or the cars in the driveway would catch on fire.  Jeff ran back into the house to try and help salvage anything but the smoke was already so thick that he couldn’t see a thing.  Neighbors were gathering.  There was nothing we could do.  There was nothing we could say.  We stood there clad in pajamas, robes and slippers as our neighbors’ home melted.  The next four hours were a blur.

Fire trucks from four different cities filled our cul-de-sac.  My six boys were captivated.  The firemen did all they could but there was no saving the house.  One fireman told me that they could only drive 15 mph due to the icy roads.  It just all happened so fast.  I ran inside to get shoes and coat for the Jacobs.  We were all out of harm’s way but the heat was so intense we weren’t cold.  I can’t imagine the heat those firemen endure.  I took photographs.  I wasn’t sure if that was a morbid thing to do but something inside of me thought the Jacobs would want to see them some day.  I even asked if I could take a picture of their family.  They were safe.  They were together.  That’s all that really mattered.  I imagine that picture will be one they will treasure some day in a strange sort of way.  Obviously, one can see how our family was affected by such a tragic event, but it was the days and weeks that followed the fire that have affected us as well.

The Beauty
When we awoke the next morning, we were still in a fog from the day before.  Not really having a sense of what to do, I looked out the window at the remains of my neighbor’s home.  I was amazed at what I saw.  Cars were lined up around the curbs as students, friends, and family of the Jacobs had gathered to offer their assistance.  I stepped outside to see what I could do.  Items from the Jacobs house were being carried out and sorted to see what could be salvaged.  A stack of framed photographs caught my eye.  I knew right then what my charge was.  I became Chief Photo Saver!  I started hauling any wet frame, singed photo album, blackened picture and charred document that was found into my house.  We laid tarps down to help with the soot and ashes.  In no time we had a crew of students and moms washing photographs of ash and soot, removing them from wet frames and laying them on towels.  As I hand washed each image, I quickly realized I had the most important job.  I was saving memories!  We had crews using borrowed blow dryers to help prevent further water damage.  My daughter Elizabeth (9) assisted with the drying while Philip (7) brought the damaged items into our house and helped with his younger siblings.  People were in and out of our house all day.  “Mi bano es tu bano” became our motto.  Andrew (12) and Michael (10), adorned with rubber boots and gloves, helped carry stuff out of the ruins and helped dig through ash and rubble for any remaining treasure to present to the Jacobs.  Luckily, Luke (2) played well while we all stayed busy.

The beauty became evident in all the love, help and encouragement given to the Jacobs.  One sweet lady, who didn’t even know the Jacobs, showed up that day with a table, cooler, chips and sandwich fixings.  She fed lunch to over 100 people.  She didn’t even know them!  Wow!  Beautiful.

The next day was much the same.  Once the house was cleared out, there wasn’t much for people to do here.  But the beauty continued.  Food was brought to our home to pass on the Jacobs.  Many stores in the area presented them with gift cards.  An account was set up for them for those who could make financial donations.  Places to stay, furniture, food, clothing and more were offered as a small token to show how much everyone cared.  People just wanted to help with something, anything.  Beautiful.

It still continues.  My children like to look out the front window of our home as the cars and trucks parade by and take in the blackened sight.  We’ve thought about charging a toll for the “Jacob’s Fund” for all the onlookers.  But, who can blame them!  We still look every time we leave the house or get the mail.

Our society is so drawn to tragedy.  I make it my personal goal to not watch the news or read the paper due to all the negative focus.  Tragedy does happen, even next door.  But from this tragedy I have seen amazing things.  I have seen neighbors come together.  People willing to give so generously of their time and resources.  My young sons James (5) and David (4) are constantly saying, “We can give this… to the Jacobs”.  David said they could come live with us and be a part of our family.  I’ve seen how the Jacobs have counted their blessings, stayed strong in their faith, and been so positive through this whole ordeal.  I’ve seen how our town has embraced the situation and offered their support in many ways.

Even though this experience was not my own, it has become such a part of me.  I’m still finding ashes in my own house, but I am thankful.  I’m thankful for all the countless people who have helped.  I’m thankful my family has a small part in helping.  I’m thankful the Jacobs chose to rebuild and still be our next door neighbors.  Yes, there is tragedy, but it doesn’t have to end there.  We must choose to focus on the beauty.  There can be beauty from ashes.
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MHSgal
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Re: Christmas Fire
Reply #3 - Mar 31st, 2010 at 10:13pm
 
Yeah, I got out my phone because I wanted to record the fire as it happened, but then I was told that someone may have died, and asked if I really wanted to film that. But it seems that others didnt have a problem filming or taking pictures.

There were tons of people helping out. I remember that day making a snow man. It was so hot from the flames that I didnt even wear a coat. The irony about the bad roads possibly contributing to the damage is that after the fire was put out, the sand trucks arrived, sanding down every road in the neighborhood.

Its hard to say this since it wasnt our house, but watching it burn that christmas morning really made the holiday depressing. Its like, wow, one of the most joyous occasions. They were even on their way to church when the fire started, from what I was told.

I was also told that their children are all grown up now. Still sad, no matter what your age is, but Im sure its psychological damage is much worse if youre a child.

The house sat as is for months. Even in March it still had its Christmas wreath and snowflake ornaments on an outside tree. I dont blame them. I dont think I could go back to see it like that if it were my house. They did finally tear it down to the foundation. On each corner was a sign from the Jacobs, thanking everyone for their support.

I also learned that the cause of the fire was somewhat related to the freak historical blizzard we got. You see, the pipes froze, and to thaw the pipes an open flame was used the night before. Well I guess thats what caused the gas leak, as Im assuming a gas pipe was mistaken for a water pipe. Anyway, after being told this, Im guessing that fire was either caused by a spark of static, or the heater kicking on, anything really, especially if they were cooking or building a fire. I dont know what room the fire started. Just that it happens so fast that they are all very very lucky to get out without physical harm

The house
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haleycart
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Re: Christmas Fire
Reply #4 - Feb 20th, 2012 at 1:14am
 
i was browsing other threads when I stumbled here. excellent post!
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