Thursday, February 24, 2011 - 10:16am
City of Madison fire investigators say a five-year-old child playing with a lighter caused the fire that gutted the family's apartment this morning.
The family of four is without a place to stay after a fire tore through their 2nd-floor apartment at 527 Northport Dr. shortly before 11 this morning.
Investigators say the child was in a bedroom of the apartment and ignited a mattress with the lighter.
Engine Company 10 was the first crew to the scene. Firefighters observed heavy flames on the balcony of the apartment, and heat had blown out the glass patio doors.
The family escaped the apartment without injury.
Firefighters say the construction of the building helped to prevent the fire from moving into the attic. Crews knocked down the fire within 20 minutes of their arrival, but were kept busy with numerous hot spots.
An apartment just below the fire apartment had some smoke damage. Ironically, the occupant of the 1st -floor apartment was moving out today.
Other neighboring apartments sustained minimal smoke damage, but will be habitable. Power was being restored to those units. The building is part of The Woodlands apartment complex.
Investigators estimate damage to the building at $135,000.
Red Cross volunteers are assisting the displaced occupants.
- Lori Wirth(608) 266-5947