News / Utah / 

Family, friends remember Salt Lake City boy who died after catching fire

Friends and family gathered Sunday to remember the 7-year-old boy who died after playing with matches in Salt Lake City this weekend. (Jeffrey Dahdah, KSL-TV)

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — A 7-year-old boy from Salt Lake City died after he accidentally caught fire while playing with matches in a backyard alleyway with his friend.

KSL-TV spoke to the boy's family and friends.

"He's like a little brother to us," said neighborhood friend, Sito Tausinga. "Yeah, he was really close."

That's how Sito and her sister, Fane, think of their 7-year-old neighbor — Kaisen Dam.

"He's the one who brings everyone together," said Sito. "He has like no electronics, so he knocks on people's houses and says, 'Can your kids come play?' And I see them all laughing outside and playing with him and it's cute."

Fane said Kaisen knew every kid on the street.

"He would just come ride bikes with us, and then he started to know us, and my mom loved him," she said.

Saturday started off like any other day.

"But yesterday, I don't know why — he just came and he was like, 'I'm bored.' And I opened the window and I said, 'Go home.' And three hours later, we found out there was a fire in the back," said Fane.

Neighbors said Kaisen and his 9-year-old friend were playing with matches and gasoline in the backyard alleyway Saturday night when he accidentally lit himself on fire.

"My auntie called my mom, and we just heard my mom screaming, and we all came over here," said Fane.

Neighbors heard the boys yelling for help and rushed to help Kaisen as the flames spread through the alley and several backyards, but Kaisen didn't make it.

"I'm sad. I'm really sad," said Fane.

Kaisen's friends said they're praying for his family.

"We love them so much, and we just want them to know we're all here if they need anything," said Fane.

Firefighters said Kaisen suffered second-degree burns on over 90 percent of his body.

His friend was uninjured.

Kaisen's grandparents, who speak mostly Vietnamese, shared how much they loved him and how friendly and sweet he was.

Related Stories

Garna Mejia
Madison Swenson


    Catch up on the top news and features from, sent weekly.
    By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    KSL Weather Forecast