San Diego

Christmas Tree Fire Fills Complex with Smoke, Injures 4

Four people suffered smoke inhalation injuries Monday after a Christmas tree caught fire and filled a Chollas Creek apartment complex with smoke.

A girl and a woman in her 50s were trapped in their unit at the Regency complex on Home Avenue near Euclid Street when their tree went up in flames. 

Smoke from the fire filled their unit and billowed out into the apartment hallway before it entered other units, firefighters said.

Residents said the fire alarms were going off and causing a panic, but the smoky hallways made it hard to evacuate the two-story building.

"These aren't big apartments and there aren't a lot of exits," resident Lafyia Murphy said. "For someone who lives over here, they have to hurry up and run down there. It's really scary. It's no joke. It's like a life and death situation right now."

The girl, the woman and two neighbors were all hospitalized.

Firefighters said the damage was contained to the unit where the fire started. Residents in other units were allowed back into their homes.

Investigators are trying to determine what exactly caused the tree to catch fire.

Firefighters used the incident as an opportunity to remind people to water their trees and to not plug tree lights into extension cords.

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