Christmas Tree Fire Destroys Winnetka Home

Saturday, December 30, 2023

The piercing sound of a functional smoke alarm helped a man escape injury, when a fast moving fire that originated on or near a Christmas tree, raced through his west San Fernando Valley home early Saturday afternoon.

The Los Angeles Fire Department was notified at 1:25 PM on December 30, 2023, of a structure fire at 19817 Hatton Street in Winnetka.

Firefighters arrived quickly to find a 2,159 square foot two-story home, well involved with fire, and the homeowner safely outside.

The man told LAFD responders he was the only person in the residence when he heard the smoke alarm, and soon thereafter discovered his natural Christmas tree fully ablaze in the first floor living room.

It took the well coordinated effort of 54 Los Angeles Firefighters under the command of Battalion Chief Nicholas Ferrari, just 53 minutes to access, confine and fully extinguish stubborn flames on both floors of the wood-frame home, that suffered severe fire damage.

No injuries were reported. 

Though the homeowner described the 37 year old residence as being equipped with functional smoke alarms as required by law, the home did not feature optional residential fire sprinklers

A Department of Building & Safety Inspector formally evaluated the heavily damaged and physically unstable structure, and "Red Tagged" the entire home as unfit for entry. 

LAFD responders were pleased to coordinate initial basic monetary assistance for the homeowner through the California Fire Foundation's 'Supplying Aid to Victims of Emergency' (SAVE) Program, and made the homeowner aware of additional community resources.

The man was able to arrange for his own accommodations, and did not require services offered by the American Red Cross.

The blaze came amidst the Los Angeles Fire Department's citywide campaign with the Department of Public Works, Bureau of Sanitation, to have residents remove natural christmas trees from their homes as soon as possible due to fire danger.

Monetary loss from the blaze is still being tabulated. The specific cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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