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3-year-old sparks 2-alarm fire in Payson

Woman suffered minor injuries

Published: Monday, Oct. 22 2012 4:12 p.m. MDT

PAYSON — A 3-year-old playing with a lighter accidentally sparked a two-alarm fire that caused heavy damage to a four-unit housing complex Monday.

The boy's mother suffered minor injuries, but everyone else was able to evacuate safely.

The incident happened about 10:40 a.m. at a residence at 753 S. 600 West. A 3-year-old boy got hold of a lighter while his mother was asleep, said Payson Fire Chief Scott Spencer. Spencer did not know immediately why the mother was asleep at that time.

The boy apparently caught a blanket on fire with the lighter, he said.

"I think he stayed and watched the fire grow a little," Spencer said.

The boy started to scream at roughly the same time fire alarms went off, fire officials said. Three children, including one infant in a crib, were in the room where the fire started. The mother sustained first- and second-degree burns to her arms and shoulders while rescuing the infant from the crib.

The mother was taken to an area hospital, where she was treated and released.

The occupants of two other units were able to get out without injury. A fourth apartment was vacant. In all, four adults and three children were evacuated from the fourplex. Damage was estimated at $150,000.

Spencer said the fire broke through the window of the bottom apartment, up the wall and into the eaves and attic of the upper units.

Pat Reavy

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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