On January 8th, 2019, around 1:40 p.m., Cypress Creek Fire Department (Harris County Emergency Service District #13) responded to a residential fire in the Quail Forest neighborhood off of Grant Road.
The fire began when the homeowner, James Draycott, a retired veteran of HPD, was attempting to remove his Christmas tree from the residence. The tree had dried out after the holiday, and a spark from a popped tree lightbulb ignited the tree. The fire spread quickly due to the location of the tree in the house and the condition of the tree. It quickly rose into the second story and attic areas.
Mr. Draycott was able to gather his two dogs and exit the home, moving safely across the street to a neighbors home, and call 911. 911 dispatch had also been notified by neighbors who could see the fire.
Cypress Creek Fire units were able to respond within less than 6 minutes from being dispatched, attacking the fire just after 1:46 p.m. Multiple units responded to the fire, and it was quickly contained.
Said Mr. Draycott after the event, “I am so glad everyone was gone. My daughters had been visiting for the holidays. My daughter and her husband and little child had been in that upstairs room just above the tree a few nights before.”
When asked for more details about the fire itself, he stated, “It was instant. The tree lit up in my hands and all I felt was heat, and a horrendous noise; then the smoke alarms went off. I thought for a moment I could drag it out, but immediately gathered my dogs and got out of the house. I may have left a little rubber in my driveway as I left!”
Mr. Draycott took all the appropriate steps he could: His smoke detectors had been recently replaced; the fire had immediately grown to a point that an extinguisher would not have helped; and he went back to the garage to make sure the power was turned off. Local utilities were contacted to shut off gas to the home within minutes of the 911 call.
Cypress Creek Fire Department and Harris County ESD 13, in coordination with the neighborhood HOA and American Red Cross, are going to be sponsoring a smoke alarm blitz in the Quail Forest neighborhood next month on February 23rd as part of their community outreach. If you live in the area and are interested in having an event like this in your neighborhood, or want to have Cypress Creek Fire do a safety survey of your home, please contact Chief Lieder at (281) 894-0151 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.