Toddler Playing With Lighter Blamed for Hotel Fire

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A 3-year-old boy playing with a lighter in a hotel room Saturday afternoon is to blame for a two-alarm fire that caused an estimated $70,000 in damage to an Economy Inn in Modesto, California.

Modesto Fire Battalion Chief Terry Inderbitzen tells the Modesto Bee newspaper that the boy was in a first-floor room with his parents when he accidentally lit the room's mattress on fire.

The fire quickly spread to the bed's headboard and the rest of the room, eventually reaching a second first-floor room.

The parents and their son quickly evacuated and were uninjured. Police officers evacuated several people staying in nearby rooms before a second alarm was called.

Firefighters had the blaze under control in about eight minutes. Rescuers used the ladder truck to cut a hole in the second-story roof and ventilate the smoke.

Damage was limited to the two first-floor rooms and the second-floor room just above. The room where the fire had started was gutted, while less extensive damage was caused to the others. A fourth room was affected by smoke and water damage.

Inderbitzen tells the newspaper these four rooms were uninhabitable, displacing about seven people.

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