Christmas tree may have started fire

January 1, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Five people in Oakland, including a couple of children, narrowly escaped tonight when their Christmas tree caught their apartment on fire.

It happened about 6:30 p.m. on Thursday in one of the units of a building at Harrison and Pearl Streets. Some of the adults were watching TV when they smelled smoke and tried to get everybody out.

"One of the kids ran and hid so they couldn't find him at first. The small one was right there when the tree caught on fire and the ceiling caught on fire," said Porsha Fountain, the victim's relative.

One person suffered minor smoke inhalation and was treated at the scene.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but one family member says the lights on the Christmas tree were left on for long periods of time.