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Family disputes cause of Christmas Eve fire

By Dwayne Parker, Reporter, DParker@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 09:30:42 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 24 2013 10:34:03 PM CST

A Christmas Eve fire left nothing but holiday heartache for one Reading family.

READING, Pa. -

A Christmas Eve fire left nothing but holiday heartache for one Reading family.

Just after 9:00 in the morning, their home in the 1100 block of Marion Street went up in flames.

Rosie Reyes, who lives in the homes, said she had prepared breakfast for her granddaughter and thought she had turned off the stove.

Before she knew it, she said her entire kitchen went up in flames.

"Not even one minute, and the whole kitchen was on fire already," Reyes said.

Fire officials say the blaze was started by food left cooking on the stove.

"From what we're understanding, they had some food on the stove, stepped away, and things escalated from there," said Deputy Fire Chief Tom Kemery, Reading Fire Dept.

But family members are disputing this fire department's finding.

They say there was no food left cooking on the stove, and that they have had problems with that very same stove in the past.

"Sometimes the stove turns on and it doesn’t want to turn off, and it stays on," said Reyes in Spanish.

There were four children and one adult in the home at the time of the fire, officials said.

Everyone escaped the flames unharmed, investigators said.

Reyes said all of her Christmas presents were destroyed in the blaze as well as the food she was preparing for a special holiday dinner.

The American Red Cross has been called in to assist the family, officials said.