5-Year-Old Caused $230k in Fire Damage: Officials

Child was said to be playing with a lighter

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    An Oceanside family and their neighbors are safe after a fire, allegedly started by a five-year-old, caused just over $200,000 in damage and destroyed part of a home Friday afternoon.

    Officials from the Oceanside, Camp Pendleton and Vista Fire Departments received a call about a blaze at a garage in the 900 block Newport Street, near the San Luis Rey gate to Camp Pendleton, just before 4 p.m., said Peter Lawrence, Battalion Chief with the Oceanside Fire Department.

    Once they arrived on the scene fire officials found the three-car garage of a two story home up in flames, Lawrence said. One adult and five children were said to be in the home shortly before the fire began.

    To prevent the fire from spreading to neighboring homes, officials pulled multiple hose lines and after a search of the area they cut holes into the roof in order to let the gas and heat escape, Lawrence said.

    The adult and children made it out of the home, though two cats weren’t as lucky. One cat died and the other suffered brain damage as a result of the incident, according to a media release.

    The fire was under control after 12 minutes and put out in about an hour, Lawrence said. The fire completely destroyed the garage of the home and spread into the attic.

    A preliminary investigation concluded that the blaze began when one of the children was playing with a lighter in the garage earlier in the day, Lawrence said. The fire was considered an accident and the child was going to be enrolled into a juvenile fire setter diversion program, Lawrence said.

    In all, the fire caused $230,000 in damage to the home and contents inside and required the work of two chiefs, one ladder, five engines, two ambulances, one investigator and 26 firefighters.

    The Red Cross was requested to the scene in order to assist in providing temporary accommodations and the last fire unit cleared the area at 8 p.m., Lawrence said.