An elderly couple in Britain who wanted to show their young grandchildren a traditional German Christmas ended up burning their house down.
The couple, who are in their 80s, were demonstrating traditional candles to their grandchildren when the Christmas tree burst into a "spectacular" ball of flames at around lunchtime on Sunday.
They were rushed to Worthing hospital after being treated on the scene for smoke inhalation and minor burns.
Area commander Adrian Murphy of West Sussex Fire and Rescue said the Christmas tree fire resulted in the total loss of the bungalow.
"If you catch a Christmas tree on fire, they are spectacular," Cmdr Murphy said. "They turn into a huge ball of fire. It would have involved the whole room very quickly.
"I believe they are of German decent and they were demonstrating to their grandchildren a traditional German Christmas.
"I'd say the grandchildren were quite young. I would like to remind everybody how dangerous real candles on a Christmas tree can be."
Firefighters were initially concerned there were people still in the house when they arrived.
The elderly couple, their grandchildren and their parents were all accounted for before firefighters tackled the blaze near Durrington Hill, Worthing.
Cmdr Murphy said the fire was well developed when they arrived five minutes after getting the emergency call.