LAS VEGAS (AP) – One of Santa Claus’ Las Vegas homes was burned after a giant Christmas tree caught fire at an open-air mall early Wednesday, just as children around the globe were expecting St. Nick to deliver presents.
Neither Santa nor anyone else was injured when the 45-foot-tall artificial tree at Town Square went up in flames about 2 a.m. on Christmas morning, about eight hours after the mall closed. Little more than a metal skeleton remained of the tree, although a scorched, 600-square-foot cottage where Santa poses for pictures with children appeared to be the only building affected, according to mall officials.
“Obviously you never want to experience something like this,” said Town Square marketing director Jaimesen Mapes. “We’re just very grateful nobody was harmed during the fire.”
Clark County Deputy Fire Chief Jon Klassen said crews found flames reaching 100 feet in the air when they arrived at the upscale shopping center. The spectacle was visible enough that a visitor at a resort a mile south of the mall could see it and called 911, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“Something that tall and that shape, it’s going to be a big gigantic matchstick,” Klassen said.
Firefighters were quickly able to extinguish the flames, Mapes said. While Klassen acknowledged the Christmas morning timing was ironic, he said the fire appeared to be sparked by faulty wiring. A final cause is still pending.
“It was such a total, catastrophic event, there wasn’t much left for them to investigate,” Klassen said. “Santa’s little house took a lot of heat.”
It was unclear whether the lights on the tree were turned on at the time of the blaze. The financial impact of the fire is also unclear.
The cottage, which is inspired by Norman Rockwell paintings, houses Santa and a photography crew and was accepting visitors through Christmas Eve. The display _ which is located in a central park and features the Christmas tree as a centerpiece _ was scheduled to be up through New Year’s.
The setup has been cordoned off, Mapes said. It’s unknown whether the house is a total loss.
“The timing is never good for an event like this,” Mapes said. “But we have a strong community here in Vegas, and we’re confident that the traditions we have at Town Square will continue.”
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food