Investigators: Fire that killed 2 boys, started by one of them playing with fire

COLUMBUS (WCMH)– A fire in mid-January that left two young boys dead was started because one of them was playing with fire, investigators said Friday.

At about 1am, January 21, Columbus firefighters were called to 849 West Town Street on the report of a fire in a three-story, multi-family apartment building.

An adult and one child were able to escape the residence, but a 4-year-old boy and a 5-year-old boy died in the fire.

After investigating the incident and interviewing the mother, fire officials said the fire was started by one of the two boys playing with fire.

The mother of the two boys, told fire investigators that she had caught her special-needs 5 year old playing with a lighter approximately 20 times during the year prior to the fire, and caught him trying to set coloring book materials on fire around lunch time the day before the fire. Many different attempts were made by the mother to prevent this behavior from occurring but were not successful.

The mother also said she had taken down the apartment smoke detectors around Christmas because the batteries had been getting weak and were chirping.

Parents of children who have shown a strong curiosity with fire, or anyone who would like to know more about the Columbus Division of Fire Juvenile Fire Setters Program are encouraged to call (614) 724-0936. This program is designed to engage at risk children who accidentally or purposely start a fire and their families and involve them in fire safety prevention, education, and intervention services. You may also find information at:

https://www.columbus.gov/templates/detail.aspx?id=65979

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