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Fire marshal says toddler with lighter started blaze

March 16, 2000|By BRENDAN KIRBY

A toddler playing with a cigarette lighter caused a fire that damaged a house on North Locust Street last week, Hagerstown Fire Marshal Tom Brown said Wednesday.

A 2-year-old boy found a lighter and accidentally set fire to bedding in his mother's room at 242 1/2 N. Locust St., Brown said.

The fire severely damaged the second floor of the duplex and injured the boy's 5-year-old brother, who was treated at Washington County Hospital for smoke inhalation.

Brown said that Mike Weller, the Hagerstown Fire Department's public education officer, has spoken with family at least three times since the fire.

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Brown said the family keep their matches and cigarettes out of plain view, but the child got it anyway.

"A child can climb and get into things you would not think they would be able to, and is able to find things you think are hidden," he said. "Take my word for it, they can."

Brown said adults should keep their matches and lighters with them at all times or lock them in a drawer.

Cigarette lighters come with child-proof devices, but Brown said many people disable them for convenience.

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