A natural Christmas tree that hadn’t been watered in a couple of days caught fire, causing extensive damage to a Columbus man’s home, firefighters said.
Homeowner Mark Jessie heard a smoke alarm activate inside his mobile home at 2704 Rosedale Drive at 12:46 a.m. Sunday, said Lt. Mike Wilson of the Columbus Fire Department. The home is in the Candlelight Village mobile home park.
Jessie, 48, told fire department investigators that he was painting a bedroom at the rear of the home and began to hear a smoke alarm sounding in the hallway, Wilson said. Jessie stated that the bedroom door was closed when he heard the alarm, and when he opened the door he saw his Christmas tree burning in the mobile home’s living room, Wilson said.
Jessie told investigators that when he saw the fire, he could see that the tree was being rapidly consumed by flames, and thick black smoke was moving toward the area of the home he was occupying, Wilson said. Jessie exited a side door and called 9-1-1, he said.
Columbus firefighters arrived at the home and reported heavy fire conditions within the interior of the residence, Wilson said. Firefighters met heavy fire inside the residence as they applied water throughout the interior, but had the fire under control within about 20 minutes, he said.
Damages to the home were declared a total loss, estimated at $30,000, Wilson said.
No injuries were reported.
Jessie provided photos from a recent social media post, including an image of the Christmas tree with numerous wrapped gifts underneath. Jessie stated that the gifts were for family and friends. Jessie, who lives alone, told investigators that he uses space heaters to heat his home, but investigators have not determined if a space heater contributed to the fire. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Jessie told fire department representatives that he will be staying with family.
Agencies that assisted at the scene include the Columbus Police Department, Columbus Regional Health Emergency Medical Service, Duke Energy and the Columbus City Utilities.