Christmas tree fire: Two Barstow sisters killed days before Christmas

A Barstow family is trying to recover after two of their children were killed in a house fire sparked by their Christmas tree. The house's smoke detectors apparently didn't work.

The fire happened back on Dec. 14, at the Isom family's home. Charmon Isom and Akeem Isom did all they could to save their family until firefighters got there, but 2-year-old Aalijah Isom and 7-year-old Annie Isom were still stuck inside.

"You run and you try to do as much as you can," Charmon Isom said. "Bust windows, run in, try and get in, try and get under the fire. I have (first-degree) burns on my feet from trying to get in there."

Aalijah Isom, 2, and her sister Annie Isom, 7, both died after the Christmas tree in their home caught fire. (GoFundMe)

Aalijah was pronounced dead at the scene. Annie was airlifted to UCI Burn Center. She was put on life support, but after a week-long battle, her parents decided to let her go. The family said they were able to donate Annie's organs, including her heart, liver, kidneys, pancreas and more.

Charmon Isom recently visited the house for the first time since the fire, saying, "Being here is just giving me the shakes."

Two young girls were killed in a house fire caused by a Christmas tree in the city of Barstow. (SISTERS OF WATTS)

On Saturday, the local community held a vigil for the two girls, with crosses for the girls, balloons, and words of love from family and friends.

"There's no amount of money, there's no amount of valuables that can bring back my children," Akeem Isom said at the vigil. "There's nothing that can bring back the happy times that I spent with my child. Both of them."

The family is now raising money to help pay for the girls' funerals, as well as to help the rest of the family relocate. More information on that fundraiser can be found by tapping or clicking here.

According to the National Fire Research Laboratory at NIST, U.S. firefighters respond to roughly 200 Christmas tree fires per year. Firefighters say that you should ensure the safety of all electrical wiring around the tree to prevent any risk of the tree catching fire. 

"It can take seven years to grow a Christmas tree... and seven seconds for it to become an inferno," the Los Angeles Fire Department notes on its website regarding Christmas tree safety. In less than 30 seconds, a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for thick black smoke to fill a house. In minutes, a house can be engulfed in flames.

The LAFD recommends the following fire safety tips:

  • Have a fire emergency escape route
  • Crawl under smoke; cover your mouth.
  • Never re-enter a burning building.
  • Install and test smoke alarms regularly.