EPFD: 5-Year-Old Starts Fire in Closet While Playing With Matches

EPFD: 5-Year-Old Starts Fire in Closet While Playing With Matches

POSTED: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 - 10:50am

UPDATED: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 - 12:50pm

Fire crews responded to a house fire in East El Paso Tuesday morning after a 5-year-old boy incited the blaze with matches inside a closet, according to the El Paso Fire Department. 

A mother was inside the home at the time of the fire, but safely escaped after the mother was notified by the 5-year-old boy. Fire investigators determined the clothes caught on fire first and quickly spread throughout the bedroom. 

The fire started just before 9 a.m. on the 11300 block of Bob Mitchell. Emergency personnel blocked the street from traffic as 31 firefighters worked to extinguish the fire.

Crews were able to put out the fire a short time later, and the Red Cross was called out to assist.

Damages are estimated at $75,000.00.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) children playing with fire causes hundreds of deaths and injuries each year. Preschoolers and kindergartners are most likely to start these fires, typically by playing with matches and lighters. The NFPA and the El Paso Fire Department would like to remind the public to practice these safety tips and to speak to your children about the dangers of playing with matches or lighters.

Safety Tips:
• Store matches and lighters out of children's reach and sight, up high, preferably in a locked cabinet.
• Never use lighters or matches as a source of amusement for children; they may imitate you.
• If your child expresses curiosity about fire or has been playing with fire, calmly but firmly explain that matches and lighters are tools for adults only.
• Use only lighters designed with child-resistant features. Remember child-resistant does not mean child proof.
• Teach young children and school-age children to tell an adult if they see matches or lighters.
• Never leave matches or lighters in a bedroom or any place where children may go without supervision.

If you suspect your child is intentionally setting fires or unduly fascinated with fire, get help. The El Paso Fire Department, school, or community counseling agency can put you in touch with trained experts.


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