Morraine View Fire Started By Child Playing with a Lighter

December 21, 2011

City of Madison Fire Investigators have determined the Morriane View Drive fire was started by a 3-year old child playing with a lighter.

The fire, which started in a bedroom on the second floor, caused an extensive amount of damage, which is still currently being assessed. The fire displaced 7 families from the 8-unit condominiums and injured one firefighter at 1132 Morraine View Drive on Friday, December 9, 2011.

The building alarms sounded and everyone evacuated safely.

The child and family have been referred to the MFD Children and Fire Program for fire safety education.

Parents should know where all lighters and matches are in the house. Make sure they are locked up. Many times when a child is burned or dies in a fire, the cause is a fire they set themselves.

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According to the Ben Evarts, NFPA Fire Analysis and Research Children Playing With Fire -

Fires started by Children playing accounted for an average of 56,300 fires with associated losses of 110 civilian deaths, 880 civilian injuries and $286 million in direct property damage per year between 2005 - 2009. Younger children were most likely to set fires in homes, while older children and teenagers are more likely to set fires outside.
• Males were more likely to engage in fire-play than females, as 83% of home structure fires and 93% of outside or unclassified fires were set by boys when age was coded as a factor.
• Lighters were the heat source in half (50%) of child-playing fires in homes
• 40% of child-playing home fires began in a bedroom
Children & Fire Program
The Children and Fire Program is a program which helps juvenile firesetters using safety education and counseling. The program is a cooperative effort between the Madison Fire Department Community Education and the Investigation Units. The kids are referred to the program through the schools, Police Department, concerned parents and Madison Fire Department personnel.

They range from 2 to 17 years of age, the majority are male. After a juvenile is referred to the program, initial contact is made with the family. Contact is also made at the childs school and fire safety assignments are given. After a certain length of time and a number of follow-up contacts are made (depending on the severity of fire play), the child will complete the program.

Early identification of the motivation of fire setters and early intervention can help to reduce or eliminate dangers to the home and community. Whatever the cause of the fire setting behavior, it may be possible to replace it with more constructive activity. Fire setting causes may also be reduced through guidance and screening. For more information on this program contact Bernadette Galvez at (608) 261-9844.

Contact:
  • Bernadette Galvez, 608-261-9844
  • 608-279-7168