A West Van Trees Street home sustained damage early Tuesday evening after a child tried to light a candle with a piece of paper.

Washington Fire Chief Steve Walden said dispatch received a call at 4:54 p.m. for a room on fire at 302 W. Van Trees Street, just across the street from the Washington Carnegie Public Library. Engine 8 arrived on the scene just 4 minutes later and fire was already pushing on the front room windows.

“We called in off-duty firefighters immediately,” said Walden. “We got the fire knocked down quickly. After talking with the family, it was discovered that a child had been trying to light a candle with a piece of paper, and dropped the paper which started fire. There was heavy fire damage on the first floor, moderate damage upstairs and smoke damage throughout the entire house.”

Walden said departments were on the scene for approximately two hours.

“We would also like to remind drivers to avoid fire scenes,” he said. “At every fire scene, we have to be on constant watch for people driving through a fire scene, over hoses or next to our fire trucks making our job more dangerous.”

October is Fire Prevention Month Walden said and since the departments have been unable to go to the schools to educate children through fire prevention programs, he’s asking parents and guardians to help spread the word about the dangers associated with fire.

“We ask that parents talk to their kids about the dangers of playing with fire, have an escape plan, and practice fire drills at home,” said Walden, who also reminds the community to check smoke detector batteries and replace smoke detector units every 10 years.

The National Fire Protection Association provides several tips for creating escape plans should a fire occur. Information on nfpa.org states that fire can spread quickly leaving you as little as one or two minutes to escape safely once the smoke alarm sounds. Closed doors may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. It’s also recommended that smoke alarms be installed in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area as well as on every level of the home. Everyone in your household should work together and make a plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes. Households with children should consider drawing a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of each room, including windows and doors.

The Van Trees Street fire also comes just days after the conclusion of Fire Prevention Week which wrapped up Saturday.

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