Firefighters: Lighter looked like toy, led to house fire - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Firefighters: Lighter looked like toy, led to house fire

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Story by Megan Boatwright
Eyewitness News Reporter

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)-- A family of nine says they lost everything in a house fire over the weekend because a six-year-old boy was playing with a novelty lighter.

The lighter was shaped like a pen and to the six-year-old, looked like a toy. So he went into a bedroom and started playing with it.

The fire department tells Eyewitness News that's how half of all house fires start.

"All of the sudden I just heard the alarms. They went off. I heard someone scream 'fire' and we ran in there," says Stephanie Ransome.

Stephanie Ransome says she and her family lost everything when their house on Chamberlain Avenue suddenly lit up Sunday morning.

"He was in his aunt's bedroom supposed to be watching cartoons," says Ransome.

Ransome says her six-year-old grandson didn't understand what he was playing with was dangerous.

"Found a lighter that was shaped like an ink pen," says Ransome.

"They look like toys, which is exactly the wrong thing to do in terms of children and cigarette lighters," says Bruce Garner, spokesman for the Chattanooga Fire Department.

Garner says the six-year-old won't face charges.

"It's not the kind of incident that they end up charging the children with," says Garner.

Ransome says she's already taken away several lessons from the experience.

"That fire went up so fast the fire department said where we made a mistake was we opened up the door," says Ransome.

But one stands out.

"Me not thinking. We have lighters laying around, I have lighters laying on my night stand. Since this happened, I leave no lighters laying around," says Ransome.

Thanks to help from the Red Cross, the family is spending the next two nights at a hotel.

Ransome says she's not sure what they'll do after that.

If you'd like to help this family and other fire victims you can donate to the Greater Chattanooga Area Red Cross.

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