SAN DIEGO — As families rush together to cook and spend time together for the Christmas weekend, firefighters have some warnings.

One Vista family lost their home from a Christmas tree fire.

This is the time of year when firefighters get an uptick in calls for cooking to Christmas tree fires.

San Diego firefighters rushed to the scene of a cooking fire Friday evening. Thankfully, it ended being a false alarm.

“What happens is people will get sidetracked. They’ll leave food on their stove become unattended and then that ends up burning their houses down eventually which is unfortunate,” said Cpt. Rich Marcello of San Diego Fire Rescue.

Other common fires are started by Christmas trees. 

That’s what happened to Margarito Paz’s home in Vista just six days before Christmas.

“It’s definitely a tragedy, you know,” Paz said. “I guess the cruel irony of it being right before Christmas and then it having to be the Christmas tree being the cause of why we’re in this position is just kind of a—it’s a gut punch.”

Firefighters warn families not to use old lights and not to daisy chain them around the tree. They also say to keep the tree in a water basin.

“Check the water on a regular basin and for us, we just brought it in there so we have professional spritzer with us right here too so see that,” Marcello said.

They warn not to barbecue or fry turkeys indoors and be sure to keep a fire extinguisher near the kitchen. Recommendations Paz hopes will help others avoid the same fate.

“Don’t think that it can’t happen to you,” Paz said. “I want everybody to realize it’s not as far fetched as you would think it is.”

The Paz family has a GoFundMe page set up.

Firefighters say the calls they’ve responded to most are car crashes. They warn people to be careful hitting the roads.