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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Children Start House Fire Playing with Matches

05/04/2012

A house fire on Ball Haye Road in Leek yesterday was started by children playing with matches.

"Fire is often appealing to young children but they don’t understand the potential severe consequences and this incident could have ended in tragedy."

Group Manager, Brian Griffiths

Two fire engines from Leek were sent to the incident after the mother of the children alerted the fire service to the incident. She and her three children were waiting outside for firefighters at just before 4pm yesterday.

Firefighters entered the property and found a small fire in the living room which they tackled using one hose reel jet. Fire damage was minimal however the property was severely smoke logged.

Group Manager, Brian Griffiths said: "This could have been a much more severe incident as the property did not have any working smoke alarms. The batteries had been removed from the alarms fitted which is incredibly dangerous. We urge all members of the public to ensure that they test the smoke alarms on a regular basis to ensure that they do work should a fire occur in the home.

"The woman was only alerted to the fire when her eldest son came to tell her about it and she was then able to get all three children quickly to safety which avoided any injuries.

"She was in another room and her older children were both playing in the living room. There was an unlit open fire in the hearth and matches were within reach of the children, which they began to experiment with and set fire to the wood in the fireplace.

"The fire then spread quickly to some of their nearby toys which created a lot of thick, black toxic smoke. We would like to remind parents to ensure matches and lighters are kept out of sight and reach of children.

"We also ask that parents try to educate their children about the dangers of playing with fire as early as possible and that message needs to be frequently discussed throughout their childhood.

"Fire is often appealing to young children but they don’t understand the potential severe consequences and this incident could have ended in tragedy. The family had a lucky escape and fortunately on this occasion no one was injured."