Christmas tree fuelled deadly fire at Maryland mansion

The 16,000 sq ft house in Annapolis, Maryland, was destroyed in the Jan 19 fire, which was fuelled by a dry Christmas tree. The fire claimed the lives of owners Don and Sandra Pyle, and their four grandchildren. -- PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
The 16,000 sq ft house in Annapolis, Maryland, was destroyed in the Jan 19 fire, which was fuelled by a dry Christmas tree. The fire claimed the lives of owners Don and Sandra Pyle, and their four grandchildren. -- PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

WASHINGTON - The Maryland authorities have said that a deadly fire at a mansion in the state capital Annapolis was fuelled by a dry Christmas tree, taking the lives of six people.

An electrical failure in one of the rooms, which had 6m-high ceilings and was connected to the sleeping areas, started the blaze on Jan 19, which burned down the house. The big tree caught fire and the blaze spread swiftly.

It killed mansion owners Don and Sandra Pyle, and their four grandchildren aged between six and eight. It is believed all died of smoke inhalation, but investigators have not received the final report from the medical examiner.

The house was equipped with a smoke-alarm system monitored by a security company. The company called the fire department to rush to the house, but the fire had already spread rapidly because Christmas trees can provide lots of fuel when they are dry, said the fire authorities.

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