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OKC Fire Department Working Hard To Prevent Accidental Fires

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Fire investigators believe an early Tuesday morning fire at a mobile home near S.E. 89th Street and Bryant was started by a child inside the home. Fire investigators believe an early Tuesday morning fire at a mobile home near S.E. 89th Street and Bryant was started by a child inside the home.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

Fire investigators believe an early Tuesday morning fire at a mobile home near S.E. 89th Street and Bryant was started by a child inside the home. The boy was apparently playing with a lighter when his mattress caught on fire and spread through half of the home.

3/11/2014 Related Story: Fire Damages Southeast OKC Mobile Home

Oklahoma City firefighters respond to a couple of calls every month where kids start a fire.

"It's a normal curiosity," said District Chief Randy Williams. "There's been cases where juveniles have started fires and their parents have not been able to get out."

Williams said many children become curious about fire at a young age. Some of the fires kids start are done out of curiosity while others may have deeper issues.

"Some may have problems. It may be a home problem, it may be trying to get attention," said Chief Williams.

Firefighters take these calls seriously.

"If a kid is involved with a fire we basically file charges against the kid with the recommendation that they go through a juvenile fire setters program," said Williams. "They get some counseling, and once they get through that program, then charges are dropped and it's like it never happened."

But dropping those charges is only a one-time deal. Repeat offenders do not get off the hook. According to Williams, those initial charges get filed to start a paper trail for investigators to know if a child has started a fire before.

"We start them at a young age and we start talking fire safety to them then. There's tests involved, so we feel like it's important enough that we catch them at a young age," he said.

Chief Williams said children are naturally curious about fire but that is when parents need to start teaching about fire danger. The Oklahoma City Fire Department has several prevention programs available to teach fire safety.

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