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Christmas tree to blame for Piedmont house fire, residents remain hospitalized

PIEDMONT, Okla. – Three people are recovering in the hospital after their home caught fire Monday afternoon in Piedmont.

The owners say it started near the Christmas tree and spread quickly.

When fire crews arrived, flames were shooting from the roof.

In the aftermath, Taylor Tyler says nothing is left of her grandparents’ home.

Tyler said, “The house itself being like this is shocking because it could have been so much worse.”

Her grandparents, James and Terry Wimmer, lived there with James’s mother, Connie.

When the Christmas tree ignited, their home of nearly a decade became an inferno.

Shawn Murray, a volunteer firefighter, ran from his home next door to help.

Murray said, “By that time, the smoke had pretty much engulfed the whole house.”

Everyone was out of the fire’s path except for James’s mother.

She’s well into her 90s and has trouble walking.

Murray said, “We drug her as far as we could and at that point in time, I called it in, called the fire in.”

A garden hose tangled with fire hoses shows just how helpless the family felt before crews arrived.

The wife of the house, Terry, tried to use it to save her home but Murray had to pull her away from the dangerous blaze.

“It’s disheartening because they’re my neighbors,” said Murray. “And to see that they’ve lost their whole house right at Christmas time, I’m just glad I was here to help them.”

As for the Wimmers, family members say they are just thankful to be alive.

“They’re pretty grateful as well,” said Tyler. “It was a just in the nick of time kind of thing.”

Doctors are treating the victims for burns and for smoke inhalation.

Once they leave the hospital, they’ll see the fury of the fire they survived.

“They’ll be sad, you know,” said Murray. “They’ll be okay though.”

Firefighters say it’s an unfortunate time to remind people with Christmas trees at home to keep them watered.

Dry trees catch fire quicker than ones that have water.

Also, check your lights for frayed cords that could spark a fire and always turn off the lights before leaving or going to bed.