BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - A home in Cullman County is a total loss after firefighters said they believe a Christmas tree went up in flames and spread.
The homeowner, Billy Atchison, is no stranger to the firefighters who responded to the scene.
Atchison supplies firefighting equipment to departments in Hanceville and Cullman.
They said every fire they get called to is tragic, but when they got this call, it was a different kind of tragedy for them.
“Folks, be careful with those Christmas trees. You see how fast these things can go bad,” said Hanceville Mayor Kenneth Nail on cellphone video recording the house fire.
The flames and smoke roared in the background as three fire departments, Johnson’s Crossing, Hanceville and Cullman worked for hours to get it under control.
“Keep this family in your prayers,” said Nail on the video. “Say a prayer for these firefighters.”
Luckily, Atchison and his family were able to make it out safely, but Atchison suffered first and second degree burns according to fire officials.
“It was just minutes for him to get them out, and minutes for it to be gone,” said Hanceville Assistant Fire Chief Bart Absher.
He said Atchison was in the process of lighting a fire in the fire place Monday night around 6.
“The family had already put their Christmas tree up and something happened,” said Assistant Chief Absher. “It caught the tree on fire and it just went up.”
Close to 24 hours later, the flames sparked up once again at the home on County Road 622 in the White City Community.
But now, there’s nothing left to be destroyed.
And that’s where these firefighters are coming in.
They’re collecting items and donations for the family.
“They have four children that range from small up to high school,” he said. “Any type of clothing for them. But just things to get them going. They have nothing left.”
You can drop off items at the Hanceville Fire Department across from City Hall.
If you’d like to donate, click here.