An exhaustive six-month probe has determined a damaged electric plug under a large Christmas tree sparked a mansion fire that spread so quickly a Maryland couple and four of their grandchildren couldn’t escape, despite a functioning alarm system, according to report released by federal investigators, reports Fox News.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Anne Arundel County Fire Department report, which concluded the fire was accidental, identified numerous hazards at the castle-like mansion near Annapolis, Maryland. The tree had shown signs of moisture loss at the time of the fire, and it was scheduled to be removed the day after the blaze, the report said.
“When this tree caught on fire, within seconds that entire room — instead of being a fire in a room — turned into a room on fire, meaning that all of the combustible gases and all the fuel packages in that room were instantaneously ignited,” said Special Agent David Cheplak, of the ATF’s Baltimore field office.
The report noted that although the home was a residential building, it was built like a commercial building with about 16,000 square feet, not including the basement, the report said.
“Additionally, the building had been built to look like a castle so there were numerous round turrets located throughout the building,” the report said. “All of these factors created potential collapse issues.”
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