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WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2006
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Christmas tree fire devastates Mobile family, destroys gifts

MOBILE (AP) — A fire that may have been sparked by lights on a Christmas tree caused $25,000 worth of damage to a home in Mobile and destroyed many of the family's gifts.

Fire spokesman Steve Huffman said in a news release that firefighters found a fire in the living room near the tree about 1 p.m. Monday.

Huffman said no injuries were reported, but the fire caused heat and smoke damage throughout the one-story, wood frame house.

LaPortia Parker, 29, said she was at her job as the manager of a Krystal's and that none of her children — Destiny, 12, Demiah, 8, Trenton, 5, and Jarrod, 1 — were home at the time.

Parker was trying to salvage some clothes from the house Monday evening. She and her fiancÚ, Reginald Spencer, had been renting the home for about seven months and did not have insurance.

Parker told the Press-Register she had bought all but two of the Christmas gifts she had planned to give her children.

The American Red Cross has given the family a three-night hotel stay, but Parker doesn't know where they will go after that.

Paula Tillman, spokeswoman for the Alabama Gulf Coast Chapter of The American Red Cross, said her organization also provided clothing and food vouchers to the family.

Tillman said the clothing voucher should cover a full set of clothing, including shoes and socks for every family member.

Christmas trees are responsible for about 200 fires a year, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

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Information from: Press-Register, http://www.al.com/mobileregister

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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