Toddler suspected of starting Chandler house fire

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by Kristine Harrington

azfamily.com

Posted on February 5, 2013 at 6:15 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 8 at 12:33 PM

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CHANDLER, Ariz. -- A house fire Tuesday morning landed a pregnant mom and her 2-year-old son in the hospital.

With flames shooting from the Chandler house, firefighters weren't able to save much of anything. 

Firefighters believe a toddler was playing with a lighter when the couch caught on fire and that fire quickly spread through the home consuming much of what was inside.

“I was at work and they called me to tell me the house was on fire,” said James Cardenas. “They said my grandson, my 2-year-old grandson, and something about a lighter. I don't know.”

Firefighters say the 2-year-old boy was home with his mom and uncle playing on the couch where the fire started.

“We did hear there was a possibility of a lighter involved and it was a relatively easy lighter to operate so that there shows you the importance of keeping those lighters and matches away from a child,” said Chandler Fire Battalion Chief Bill Evans. “We have significant interior damage. Almost the entire inside of the home was involved in fire so this is a very significant, almost complete, loss.”

Chandler firefighters arrived at the home on California Street near Frye Road shortly after 10 a.m.

“It took us so long to try to get this house and then to go through this oh my...I guess we'll start over again,” said Cardenas.

Firefighters said as bad as this is it could have been worse.

“We're just very fortunate that everyone got out,” said Evans. “There were three occupants inside they all got out with very little injuries.”

Firefighters say once the pregnant woman escaped with her young son, she ran back inside in an attempt to put out the fire but was unsuccessful.

“It's always life safety first,” said Evans. “Get everybody out of the house and let us come in and do that job. Risking your life for property is not something we recommend at all.”

The woman and her son were treated for minor smoke inhalation

“The family is OK, the house can be replaced and can be fixed, repaired,” said Cardenas.

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