- Associated Press - Thursday, December 25, 2014

KEOKUK, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa man who dresses as Santa Claus for charity has lost his home and all of his belongings in a Christmas Eve fire.

The Hawk Eye in Burlington says (http://bit.ly/1HHJQ1m ) firefighters were called to a Keokuk home around 10:20 a.m. Wednesday. By the time they arrived, the house was engulfed in flames.

The home belonged to Robert Tripp, who portrays Santa for the Salvation Army in Keokuk. Officials suspect electrical wiring caused the blaze.

Tripp’s sister-in-law, Thelma Jefferson, who rents a room in the house, says she and her two nieces were watching television when the fire started. They escaped unharmed.

Tripp says he lost his wife three weeks ago. The Salvation Army is planning to house Tripp and Jefferson in a hotel for the holiday season.

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Information from: The Hawk Eye, http://www.thehawkeye.com

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