Fire sparked by child playing with matches

Posted: Friday, April 02, 2010

A 3-year-old playing with matches Wednesday night started a fire in a Soldotna home.

Central Emergency Services responded to a call at around 6:45 p.m. on March 31 and learned Eric Petty, the 3-year-old's father, had dragged a burning mattress out of his 46795 Roosevelt Ave. house. The child lit the mattress on fire while her father was in the kitchen making dinner with some of the family's other children, according to Brad Nelson, CES's deputy fire marshal. Petty's wife was out with some of the family's other kids.

Nelson said Petty went back into the house after making sure all of his children were safely outside.

The fire didn't damage much more than the mattress in the approximately $160,000 home and no one was injured. But Nelson said more destruction could "easily" have occurred.

"Beds are made with plastics. When those burn they could produce a poisonous, toxic smoke, not to mention a lot of smoke," Nelson said. "He (Petty) very easily could have been overcome by those fumes."

Nelson said Petty should have called the fire station immediately, before trying to take matters into his own hands.

"He was dragging a burning mattress through the house. He could have done even more damage," Nelson said. "He could have burned the crud out of himself."

The fire consumed about $2,000 worth of property, ruining the mattress and singing parts of the home.

Nelson also said the fire serves as a reminder that children should never play with matches.

Big Eddy Road fire:

CES investigation determined that Tuesday's Big Eddy Road chimney fire sparked from a gas fire insert burning natural materials.

"They were using the fire place other than what it was meant for," Nelson said.

The blaze caused about $30,000 worth of damage.

Andrew Waite can be reached at

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