Wisconsin home fire: six people escape fire started by child playing with lighter

Blog Post created by lisabraxton Employee on May 5, 2017

Parent telling child not to pick up matches and lighters

A couple and four children escaped a fire that happened recently in a multi-unit residential building in Racine, Wisconsin. According to the Racine Journal Times, Racine fire investigators say the fire started after a 5-year-old child playing with a lighter accidentally sparked the blaze.

Cliff Gardly and his wife, Alicia Mild, heard a smoke alarm sound. As Mild got the grandchildren out of the home, Gardly, with a blanket, tried to smother the fire, which was on a bedroom mattress. He began choking because of the smoke. The couple and children got down the steps to safety before the home was engulfed in flames.

NFPA’s tip sheet on smoke alarms in the home states the following:

  • If the smoke alarm sounds, get out and stay out. Never go back inside for people or pets.
  • If you have to escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to your way out.
  • Call the fire department from outside your home.

NFPA’s tip sheets on escape planning and young firesetters also provide essential safety guidance.