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Cause of fatal fire revealed to be ignited Christmas tree

Results from an investigation into the Collierville house fire that claimed four lives revealed that an ember from a fireplace ignited a Christmas tree and caused the blaze.

Kari Coudriet and three teenagers were killed Dec. 23 in a house fire on Autumn Winds Drive.

The Collierville Fire Department responded to a house fire on the 600 block of Autumn Winds at around 11 p.m.

The victims were Coudriet, 46, Sharron, 17, Joy, 15, and Aaron, 14. The teens were members of the Naik family from India.

The Collierville Fire Marshal’s Office announced on Jan. 4 that an investigation determined that a natural cut Christmas tree was the “major fuel source for the fire.”

“The tree, along with wrapped presents and ordinary living room furniture, burned rapidly and produced thick black smoke that reached the second floor by way of the only staircase located at the main entrance,” wrote Paul Witt, chief of Fire Prevention. “According to survivors, the only smoke alarm located on the hallway wall on the second floor of the residence activated.

“However,” he continued, “it is undetermined if its activation was too late to successfully allow the other residents to escape using the stairs.”

Coudriet’s husband, Daniel, and the couple’s teenage son, Cole, both survived the fire by leaping out of windows on the second story.

They were released from the hospital on Christmas Day.

“The fast moving fire, along with no working smoke alarm on the first floor, combined to make early escape impractical,” Witt wrote.

Three state fire investigators and one canine conducted the investigation over two days.


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