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Apr-24-2006 00:49printcomments

Investigators Say Child With Lighter Caused $200K in Damage to Salem Home

Damage to the house at 2473 Crestmont Circle S. Salem Oregon
Damage to the house at 2473 Crestmont Circle S.
Photo Courtesy: Joe Parrott/Salem Fire

(SALEM) - A fire that investigators say was started by a small child caused a fire to sweep through portions of a south Salem house Sunday, leaving more than $200,000 of damage in its wake but no injuries.

Salem Fire Spokesman Joe Parrott says crews were called out at 2:33 Sunday afternoon to a house fire at 2473 Crestmont Circle S.

The fire was reported to have started in the bedroom closet. A 15-year old girl and a 5-year old girl were home at the time. The girl`s mother, Magda Gabr, was at work but arrived home quickly after learning about the fire.

The home is a large three story building. Parrott says the fire started in a third floor bedroom and extended into the attic above. `Quick and aggressive action by Salem firefighters prevented the fire from spreading throughout the entire attic. However, damage to the building is estimated to be in excess of $200,000."

Salem Fire investigators determined that a five-year old girl playing with a barbeque lighter caused the fire Sunday afternoon. The lighter was equipped with child-resistant features but the girl was able to operate the lighter anyway.

Parrott says the girl will participate in the Salem Fire Department's juvenile Firesetter intervention program. This process includes a detailed assessment of the firesetting behavior and either a referral to counseling, fire safety education, or both depending on the outcome of the assessment.


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