90-Foot Christmas Tree Destroyed in Fire

The tree arrived at South Coast Plaza in October

A 90-foot Christmas tree outside Westin South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa was destroyed by a fire Monday morning.

No evacuations were ordered as the tree burned in the 600 block of Anton Boulevard at about 6:30 a.m. No injuries were reported.

Smoke was visible from Costa Mesa City Hall, about three miles south of the hotel. Firefighters extinguished the fire at about 7 a.m.

Bare branches and scorched decorations were all that remained of the tree. The 10-ton white fir arrived at the hotel in mid-October in time for workers to get it ready for a November lighting ceremony.

"I think everyone who works around here feels like it's our tree, too" said Wendy Lembke, who works nearby. "Even though it's South Coast Plaza's tree, but we feel like it's all our tree. It's sad to see the poor thing."

A maintenance worker was working in the area when he heard a "pop" sound, possibly an explosion, and reported the fire, the Orange County Register reported. A cause was not immediately determined. 

South Coast Plaza representatives plan to have the tree's branches removed so the trunk can be salvaged as a post on which to hang Christmas tree lights.

Investigators said Monday it did not appear the fire was intentionally set.

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