General Crime

* 4 Year Old Playing With Lighter Ignites Duplex Fire In Hayward

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A Hayward family was displaced by a duplex fire early this morning that was sparked by a 4-year-old boy playing with a lighter in a bedroom closet, a fire captain said. The one-alarm fire was reported shortly before 12:30 a.m. at a duplex in the 24500 block of Leona Drive. Firefighters arrived and managed to mostly contain the fire to the bedroom where it started, Hayward fire Capt. Thor Poulsen said.

Damage to the bedroom and a hallway was estimated at $25,000, he said. Poulsen said the family was awake when the fire started, and that the adults suspected something was awry when the 4-year-old ran into the kitchen and hid under a table, clutching something in his hands. They went to investigate and found that the child had lit some clothes in the closet on fire, he said. The family members closed the bedroom door but weren’t able to put out the blaze.

The home was equipped with two smoke detectors but neither had working batteries, he said. Poulsen reminded residence of the importance of having functional smoke alarms. “If this family were asleep, it could have caused at least one fatality,” he said. No injuries were reported, but three adults and three children in the unit where the fire started were displaced. Residents of the other half of the duplex are being allowed to return home once the utilities have been secured, he said.

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