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Christmas Tree Sparks $150,000 Ojai House Fire

January 01, 1994

A house on Creek Road south of Ojai was gutted by fire on New Year's Eve, authorities said Friday.

The cause of the fire was still being investigated. It was sparked by a Christmas tree that caught fire, Ventura County fire officials said.

No one was injured in the blaze, which was called in to the Fire Department at about 4 p.m. after 17-year-old Eileen Friedlander found the family room in flames.

"I had just taken a bath and heard a weird noise, so I went to the door and saw smoke coming through the top of the door," said Eileen, who lives in the house with her parents and 13-year-old brother. "I opened the door and the family room was completely engulfed in flames."

Eileen escaped the flames unhurt. Her brother Brent was outside playing basketball. Their parents are vacationing in the Napa Valley and are due home Sunday, she said.

The fire was contained at about 5:10 p.m. Authorities estimated it caused about $150,000 worth of damage to the three-bedroom, one-story house.

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