December 18, 2014

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UPDATED: Officials say Lorain fire started by child playing with lighter

Lorain firefighters put out a second floor fire at 1057 W. 9th St. on Wednesday morning. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

Lorain firefighters check for hot spots after a fire on West 9th Street on Wednesday morning. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

LORAIN— A 5-year-old boy playing with a lighter started a fire that burned through a Lorain house Wednesday morning.

Around 10:30 a.m., the Lorain Fire Department responded to West Ninth Street where a fire was burning in the second-floor bedroom of a house.

Tasha Smith, 39, who was in the house with her 5-year-old son and 19-year-old daughter at the time of the fire, got out with her children, according to Lorain Assistant Fire Chief Dennis Livchak. No one was injured, and the five other children who live with Smith at the house were at school, Livchak said.

Firefighters saw flames coming from a bedroom on the second floor and moving up the side of the house. Over the next few hours, the fire burned two bedrooms, caused smoke damage on the second floor and moved into the attic. Firefighters left the scene around 1 p.m., Livchak said.

After investigating the cause, firefighters determined that the fire started when Smith’s 5-year-old son was playing with a lighter. He lit a piece of paper and put it on top of the bed, which quickly caught fire, Livchak said. The boy went to tell Smith, who told firefighters the flames were too large for her to put out on her own.

The Red Cross is helping Smith and the seven children find housing, according to Livchak.

Livchak said the house is uninhabitable and he estimates damages are around $100,000.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.