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Child Starts House Fire with Matches

Child Starts House Fire with Matches

Posted - Jul. 8, 2003 at 4:22 p.m.



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Shelley Osterloh ReportingA child playing with matches started a fire that partially burned a Kearns home and destroyed an attached garage. Despite the loss, the family says they are grateful because no one was injured. The homeowners hope others will warn their children about the dangers of fire.

Firefighters found the garage engulfed in flames and the blaze was spreading into the attic of the home. The 30 firefighters attacked it from inside and out and managed to save most of the home.

Capt. Jay Ziolkowski, Salt Lake County Fire Dept.: "Typically on the attic fires, they race across, very difficult to fight, real lucky, real fortunate today that we were able put that fire out relatively fast."

The owner of the home was just returning from a meeting.

Ruby Cheesman, Homeowner: "As I came into the subdivision I realized it was really really close and had that sinking awful feeling that everyone gets, I hope it not my house."

But it was; and the fire was started by her son.

Ruby Cheesman, Homeowner: "He got in the cupboard and got some matches and lit a towel on fire. And unfortunately it was right near his dad's tools and other things that had grease and oil on them and caught the back of the garage on fire really quickly."

An older brother called 911.

Smoke and some fire damage to the home will mean the family will need another place to live for a while, but Ruby and Ron Cheesman say it could have been so much worse. They are thankful no one was burned.

Ruby Cheesman, Homeowner: "Even though the seven-year old admitted that he was playing with matches like he shouldn't have been, I think he learned a good lesson. Material things can be replaced, we have insurance and we are grateful for that."

They hope other parents will see this and remind kids its dangerous to play with matches.

Fire officials estimate damage at about 70-thousand dollars

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