The first occurred at about 8:30 a.m. when children playing with matches ignited a bedroom at 1586 Prospect Ave. Residents were able to safely alert the Sparks Fire Department and evacuate their home.
Fire Marshal Bob King said the rapid response by the family allowed the fire to be extinguished quickly.
“Luckily the resident called 911 right away when she noticed smoke inside the house and got all the kids out right away,” King said. “That made our response quick and we used minimal water to put it out.”
As firefighters searched the residence, they found active fire on a bed mattress in the front bedroom. The fire was under control and subsequently extinguished within a few minutes of the first unit’s arrival. Fire damage was contained to the bedroom, with light smoke throughout the house.
King said the children who accidentally started the fire were about 5 or 6 years old. He said the most important lesson to be taken away is to keep matches and lighters in places where children cannot reach them.
“This fire was definitely not deliberate. It was more of a curiosity type fire than anything,” King said. “It’s normal after a fire like this that we will sit down and talk to the children about the safeties and dangers of playing with matches.”
King said the fire department will often bring young children down to the station where they can watch videos tailored to their age level, color pictures and engage in activities that will remind them about fire safety.
The second fire occurred in the late afternoon at the home at 1652 F St. Doug Benavides, one of the house’s six residents, called 911 after he spilled some cigarette lighter fluid and it ignited. The fire started on a table and quickly spread to the living room, kitchen and dining room. The blaze shattered the living room window and the house was unable to be reoccupied. Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the fire after arrival.
Benavides made it out of the house and was taken to the hospital for observation, King said. No one else was in the house.
Benavides’ fiancee, Tracy Penrod, said they and her four children would stay with nearby family. Penrod said her two cats were still missing.