Child playing with lighter nearly burns down Maricopa home

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A 4-year-old playing with a lighter almost burned down his family's house Monday morning. By Jennifer Thomas A 4-year-old playing with a lighter almost burned down his family's house Monday morning. By Jennifer Thomas
A 4-year-old playing with a lighter almost burned down his family's house Monday morning. By Jennifer Thomas A 4-year-old playing with a lighter almost burned down his family's house Monday morning. By Jennifer Thomas
A 4-year-old playing with a lighter almost burned down his family's house Monday morning. By Jennifer Thomas A 4-year-old playing with a lighter almost burned down his family's house Monday morning. By Jennifer Thomas
A 4-year-old playing with a lighter almost burned down his family's house Monday morning. By Jennifer Thomas A 4-year-old playing with a lighter almost burned down his family's house Monday morning. By Jennifer Thomas

MARICOPA -- A 4-year-old playing with a lighter almost burned down his family's house Monday morning.

Two Maricopa police officers arrived on scene shortly before fire crews. One officer removed a woman who was refusing to leave the home as the other officer ran upstairs and put out a small spot fire with a fire extinguisher he carries in his car.

Brad Pitassi with the Maricopa Fire Department said fire crews found moderate smoke on the second level of the home, stemming from two small fires that were set by a 4-year-old playing with a lighter. 

Pitassi said the crews made sure the fires were out and did not extend into any other parts of the home.

A 44-year-old woman, her 25-year-old daughter and 4-year-old grandson were treated for smoke inhalation. All three were transported to a local hospital for further evaluation.

The family's pets, two cats and a small Chihuahua, were rescued from the home.

"This is as close as it can come to having a significant fire on our hands," said Maricopa Fire Battalion Chief Ken Pantoja. "Children must learn the dangers of playing with matches or lighters. He almost burned his house to the ground."