Media Release


Monday, September 10, 2012
For Immediate Release
Fire & Rescue

Contact: Tim Szymanski
Telephone: 303-2993


Child Playing With Lighter Starts Fire In Northwest Las Vegas Home
There Were No Reported Injuries During Incident


Las Vegas firefighters responded to a house fire at 9628 Kelly Creek Ave. (Grand Canyon/Gowen) at 6:41 Thursday evening. On arrival, light smoke was showing from the upstairs of a two-story wood frame house. Firefighters found a mattress and box springs on fire in one of the bedrooms, firefighters had the fire out in less than a minute. Damage was confined to mostly the bedding and smoke damage to the room. Damage is estimated at $5,000.

Fire investigators determined that the fire started when a child was playing with a lighter and it caught the mattress on fire. All of the occupants were able to escape without injury and went to a neighbor’s home.
A child playing with a lighter or matches is one of the leading causes of fires in Las Vegas as well as the rest of the country. Juveniles (persons under age 18) accounted for approximately 46 percent of arson arrests in the U.S. during the period 2005 to 2010.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, in the United States between the years 2005 to 2009, children playing with matches accounted for an average of 56,300 fires which caused 110 deaths, 880 injuries and $286 million in direct property damage.

Younger children usually were involved with fires inside the home (usually a bedroom) while older children set fires outside. Boys were involved more than girls and lighters were used 50 percent of the time.

Why do children do it?  Most of the time they are just curious or want to experiment with fire. Other times it is a cry for help because of some stressful situation in their life such as family divorce, bullying in school or abuse in the home.  Older children usually do it for thrill-seeking.  In some children it is from emotional or mental disorders.  Lastly the willful intent to cause destruction.

Youth firesetting is often referred to as the preventable arson.  With a little prevention, you can prevent a tragedy from occurring.

Matches and lighters should be treated the same as a gun in the home.  They should be locked in place where children can never get to them.  Never leave them out in the open or in place where children could retrieve them.

Matches and lighters are tools that are used by adults.  Do not use the word “play” with matches or lighters. 

Use child-resistant lighters, but remember that they are not child proof.

Instruct children to inform an adult if they find matches or lighters they should not touch them.

Parents should never use matches or lighters for fun, especially in front of children.  Children will mimic you and when they do unsupervised, tragic events can occur.  Be a role model and demonstrate safe practices where fire is involved.

There is never an exception to the rule especially during holiday seasons like the Fourth of July.  Children should never be allowed to light fireworks.

Nearly 95 percent of fire deaths in Southern Nevada occur in the home, the place where people feel the safest.  Keep your home safe by routinely inspecting your home for fire hazards, install and maintain working smoke alarms throughout your home, plan and practice home fire-escape drills that include two ways out of every room and consider the possibility of having residential fire sprinklers in your home.

Tragically, children that die or are critically injured due to playing with matches average in age three to six years.  Usually there are two or more of them together. If a fire starts, they usually hide instead of telling someone.  Most children die of smoke inhalation in their bedroom and are found hiding in a closet, under the bed or in a large toy box.  If a fire does start, get everyone out of the home as quickly as possible.  Do not attempt to put the fire out. Call 9-1-1 after you are outside and everyone is safe.

E45,107,9,42, T9,R45,HR44,EMS1,AR53,B4,10, 6i4, 6i3, 6i12      Incident: 2233039


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