Christmas tree investigated as possible source of Durham townhome fire

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Christmas tree may have started fire.

A Christmas tree may be partly to blame for a fire that sent one person to the hospital and displaced two families.

Durham Fire Department said the fire started before 1:30 Wednesday morning at a townhouse on Front Street.

People living inside the townhouse told firefighters the Christmas tree was on fire. Investigators are now trying to determine the exact cause of the fire.

Firefighters were able to put the fire out in 15 minutes, but it had already caused heavy damage to two homes.

Fire inspector Jody Morton said they're not ruling out the tree as a cause of the fire, but they're also checking on at least two other potential sources - a space heater and a candle.

One person inside the home that caught fire was taken to Duke Regional Hospital and treated for smoke inhalation.

The fire displaced the family living in the home that caught fire as well as the family living in a home next door.

Durham Fire Department said it's important to follow the following fire safety tips during the holidays:

According to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. fire departments responded to an average 170 home fires per year between 2012 and 2016 that started with Christmas trees. These type of fires cause an average of 4 deaths, 15 injuries, and $12 million in property damage annually.
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