Plano Fire-Rescue crews fought two house fires simultaneously Saturday morning.
The first fire, in the 3600 block of Hutch Drive near the Oak Point Nature Preserve, was called in by the resident at 10:58 a.m. The second fire, at a home in the 900 block of Arbor Downs Drive just west of Alma Drive, was called in by a neighbor who saw flames coming from the home's bedroom window just two minutes later at 11 a.m. There were no injuries involved in either fire.
Firefighters driving to the Arbor Downs Drive home could see heavy smoke on their way to the home and found fire in the rear of the home upon their arrival. The fire was extinguished and was found to have started on the back patio and spread to the fence and home. Firefighters determined the fire started by improperly disposed cigarettes.
Firefighters arriving at the Hutch Drive home saw no smoke or fire initially, but when they entered the home they found smoke upstairs and in the room where the fire started. Crews quickly extinguished the fire, checked the remainder of the home and helped clean up and clear smoke from the house. The home has fire and smoke damage to the room where the fire started and light smoke damage to the remainder of the second floor. Fire investigators have determined the fire was caused by a child playing with fire.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, each year an average of 56,300 child-playing fires are reported to fire agencies in the U.S., causing an average of 110 civilian deaths and 880 civilian injuries. These safety tips can help prevent fires that involve child fireplay:
- Store matches and lighters out of children’s reach and sight, up high, preferably in a locked cabinet.
- Never use lighters or matches as a source of amusement for children; they may imitate you.
- If your child expresses curiosity about fire or has been playing with fire, calmly but firmly explain that matches and lighters are tools for adults only.
- Use only lighters designed with child-resistant features. Remember: child-resistant does not mean child-proof.
- Teach young children and school-age children to tell an adult if they see matches or lighters and never to touch them.
- Never leave matches or lighters in a bedroom or any place where children may go without supervision.
If you suspect your child is intentionally setting fires or unduly fascinated with fire, get help. Your local fire department, school, or community counseling agency can put you in touch with trained experts.