Someone may have torched public Christmas tree, California firefighters say

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A suspected arson blaze damaged a public Christmas tree in Jack London Square in Oakland, California firefighters said.

Firefighters found an aerosol can at the base of the tree following the blaze at 1:30 a.m. Monday, Dec. 6, and someone was seen fleeing on a bicycle, KPIX reported.

An arson investigation has been opened into the fire that scorched the 52-foot tree, the Oakland Fire Department reported on Twitter.

“Thankfully the tree was not plugged in at the time of the fire or we’d have been looking at a possible electrical fire and more damage,” Michael Hunt, spokesperson for the Oakland Fire Department, told The San Francisco Chronicle.

The blaze scorched about 15% of the tree but also damaged lights, Hunt told the publication. An official lighting ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 11.

Firefighters from a nearby station responded and doused the flames within minutes, KTVU reported.

Hunt called the incident “definitely pretty shocking and really unfortunate,” SFGate reported.

“With with so many people, for the last two years, being unable to gather safely in groups or celebrate major holidays in the way that they’re accustomed, that someone would jeopardize, you know, one of those community events such as the upcoming tree lighting, it’s really heartbreaking,” he told the publication.

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