A Waxahachie family was in need of emergency shelter after a fire heavily damaged their home on Christmas.

The Waxahachie Fire Department received a call at 10:52 p.m. to respond to a structure fire at 607 E. Ross.

“It was a one-story wood frame house and when we arrived there was a lot of heavy black smoke,” said Waxahachie Fire Chief David Hudgins, who reported that all four members of the home made it out safely.

Hudgins said firefighters battled the blaze until 1:02 this morning.

The cause of the fire is believed to have started in the dryer vent, which caused an estimated $85,000 damage to the home.

The American Red Cross was called in to assist the family with emergency shelter.

“One of the residents had told us that she had just put in a load of clothes into the dryer and walked to the front of the house when she smelled something burning,” Hudgins said. “By the time she walked to the back of the house, the fire had already started climbing the walls and had jumped into the next room. Being a wood frame house, it didn’t take long to get it going.”

Firefighters were on the scene within four minutes of the call, Hudgins said.

Because of the quick response, the chief said firefighters were able to salvage many of the family’s belongings, but there was a lot of smoke and water damage, as well as extensive structure damage to the rear of the home where the fire started.

Hudgins said families need to use extreme caution — especially during this time of year around Christmas trees and holiday lights. He urged families not to plug in too many cords into electrical outlets, never to run an extension cord underneath a carpet or rug and to always keep Christmas trees watered.

In this case, Hudgins said the fire began by the dryer trap filling with lent.

“A lot of times you can’t see the lent buildup,” he said. “You either need to get a professional to come in and check the trap or to disconnect the vent and remove all the excess lent from building up. Dryer fires can happen when you least expect it.”

Hudgins said the Red Oak Fire Department provided mutual aid during Tuesday night’s fire.

E-mail Neal at neal.white@waxahachiedailylight.com