SHERMAN OAKS—Tragedy struck a Sherman Oaks family after their home burned down on January 6, the Christian Orthodox celebration of the Armenian Christmas. The family’s 20-foot Christmas tree caught fire while the homeowners were outside of the room, quickly spreading to the second floor and attic.
After attempts to extinguish the fire with a garden hose failed, approximately 60 firefighters arrived on scene to battle the blaze. “At 7:09 pm, the Los Angeles Fire Department was summoned to a reported “Structure Fire” at 5049 North Matilija Avenue,” according to a Los Angeles Fire Department’s (LAFD) Media and Public Relations staff member.
The fire, which engulfed the foyer, spread to a difficult to maneuver attic and second floor. After one hour and twenty minutes, the flames were successfully extinguished.
The two-story home, just west of the Magnolia/Woodman intersection, was almost entirely destroyed. Claims adjusters began evaluating damages on Saturday after the LAFD ensured the building was safe. The LAFD credits Battalion Chief Pete Benesch for his “well-orchestrated fire and the tireless efforts [to beat the flames],” according to a press release.
Adjusters have not finished estimating the total amount of damage. The LAFD is sponsoring a program to remove and recycle old Christmas trees to avoid unfortunate, preventable fires like this one in the future.