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Man killed in Plano house fire: Dry Christmas tree believed to be the cause of blaze
A dry Christmas tree caused a house fire that killed an 87-year-old man Monday evening in Plano.
Plano firefighters responded to a call in the 2500 block of Parkhaven Drive at about 7:20 p.m. The caller told the dispatcher that the "whole home was on fire," according to a press release from Plano FD.
While four people inside the house were able to escape, firefighters were alerted on their way to the house that the elderly man, since identified as William Leonard, was still inside, said Capt. Peggy Harrell, Plano FD spokeswoman.
"When they arrived, they found quite a bit of smoke in the front of the house and a lot of fire at the back," Harrell said. "They made entry at the front of the house and located the deceased individual."
During the rescue attempt, firefighter Patrick Amoroso suffered non-life-threatening burns to his back, neck and shoulder when the room became engulfed in flames. Two other firefighters, Manny Duarte and Broox Nevil, were also injured in the fire. All three were treated at Medical Center of Plano, Harrell said.
Leonard was visiting his family for Christmas; his son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren were not injured by the fire.
Fire Chief Brian Crawford released a statement Tuesday, saying firefighters did what they could in “poor and deteriorating interior fire conditions.”
“It is with heavy hearts that the Plano Fire Rescue members celebrate Christmas today knowing that a family in their community has so tragically lost a loved one,” Crawford said in the statement. “All Plano firefighters performed with the high level of professionalism expected from this community during the incident ... They are to be commended for their actions. Our prayers are with Mr. Leonard’s family and with our own three injured firefighters and their families.”
The department press release said family members told investigators they heard a pop before seeing the Christmas tree ignite and said the tree was "dry and had been a concern." Officials have not yet said what caused the tree to catch fire.