Boys Playing With Lighter Cause Fire

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Two young boys playing with a lighter caused a fire in an apartment on Longhorn Road Sunday night, Payson Fire Marshal Mike Winters said.

A 4-year-old and a 2-year-old got their hands on the lighter and ignited a mattress.

"The 4-year-old climbed up on the counter and got the lighter," Winters said. "It was a Zippo lighter so it doesn't just go out. We think they set it down on a bed."

Winters was told that the children's grandfather showed the 4-year-old boy how to use the lighter.

"We asked him to show us how it works and he knew how to do it," Winters said.

The children's father was in an adjoining room when the mattress caught fire.

"He tried to move the mattress," Winters said. "Fortunately, the complex had a sprinkler system that was activated."

Winters said without the sprinklers, more apartments would have burned and tenants displaced, but the resulting damage was minimal.

"The sprinklers did their job," Battalion Chief Tom Barker said. "The fire did not get any larger than about 4 (feet) by 4 (feet) and it was right under the sprinklers."

Winters said the sprinklers are activated individually when the temperature reaches 155 degrees. Systems are currently required for apartment complexes of a certain size.

Winters said the main lesson of the incident is that lighters and matches should be kept where children can't get to them

"We need to keep lighters and matches away from little hands," Winters said. "Make sure you also watch your kids. It's not like the lighter was right in front of them but you know how it is when a kid wants to get ahold of something -- he'll get ahold of it."

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