4-Year-Old Playing With Lighter Starts House Fire

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A 4-year-old playing with a lighter caused a fire that heavily damaged a house in Troy Hill.

He told KDKA-TV the boy had the lighter in the second-floor bedroom of the Sundeman Street. He set fire to some paper and put it in a trash can. Flames spread through second floor to the roof.

The boy’s father, Tom Carlin, tried to use a garden hose to put out the flames.

“He was supposedly up in his room watching ‘Spongebob’ or whatever, and the next thing we know, he comes running down the stairs and there you go,” he said.

“The whole upstairs looks like a piece of burnt toast,” he added.

The roof now has hole in it.

Pittsburgh Arson Detective Mike Burns says the boy can’t be charged with a crime but will be enrolled in a fire-starters program. The boy was remorseful and started crying when he saw the damage.

“It’s just a 4-year-old that didn’t know better and an accident happened and it is what it is,” Carlin told KDKA-TV.

The boy’s mother and two firefighters were treated for minor injuries.

More Local News
More Reports By Ralph Iannotti


One Comment

  1. Justice for All! says:

    Maybe the kid didn’t know any better but the parents did!
    It’s their job to keep lighters and matches away from the kid.
    It’s also their job to know where a 4 year old is in the house and what they are doing.
    I blame the parents! The parents should now go to class to learn how to be a parent. I don’t know if such a thing exists but if it doesn’t here is another golden opportunity for someone to go into business for themselves.
    Also if they don’t know how to be a parent maybe they shouldn’t have any kids in the first place!

    1. Tiffany says:

      hey thats enough i know these ppl first hand and im not gonna let u sit here and say bad things bout them! esp since u dont even know them the mother and father r good parents thier child just got a hold of something that slipped by his parents could have happend to anybody so dont sit here and criticize them for something that was an accident… could it have been advoided by putting that stuff up? yes, but like i said he is 4 its not like he was older and actually knew that it was dangerous!

    2. LH says:

      Do you have children?

  2. joannie says:

    maybe a test should be required to be a parent, and random drug testing weekly. if they cant pass either then they should have there tubes tied or a Vas. the world would be a much better place, ……….

    1. Tiffany says:

      im telllin u the same thing i just told the above person, u have no clue of what ur even talkin about they made one mistake on not puttin the lighter or matches up and he snuck it past his mom and dad so now u wanna sit here and criticize they parents? No i dont think so, they r good ppl, they made a mistake every1 does, it could have been alot worse than what it is and im just happy no one is dead, and as far as a random drug test goes ur crazy they werent on drugs, if they were do u think i would let my daughter play with thier oldest child? again no i dont think so, so until u know who these ppl r u can keep ur mouth shut they r very good ppl and u shouldnt be running ur mouth about something u seen on tv cause even the news ppl were half wrong esp this station…..

      1. Sterilize says:

        You shouldn’t be allowed to breed

  3. Becky Jenkins says:

    kids take things when no ones looking, he could have got that lighter from anywhere, a freinds, aunts , grandmas, or in his own home! He could of had it for a couple days, and was like “oh, no ones looking for a minute, lets see what this does!!” I dont think this makes them bad parents!!! It’s just an unfortunate accident! Thank god everyones ok!

    1. Dena K says:

      I agree with you Becky. Kid can get ahold of something and do something in a blink of an eye!

  4. Patsy A. says:

    If the boy concealed the lighter while walking past his parents then he knew what he was doing was wrong, he just didn’t understand the ramification of what he was doing.
    The father looks like a hard working man who has to start all over again and thats sad. I hope they don’t hold it against him forever or constantly rub the mistake in his face because his future will take a negative turn.

  5. Tavvy says:

    LH it does not matter if a person has children or not this is a common sense issue, don’t let the tv babysit a rambunctious child. Its good no one was hurt.

  6. Matthias says:

    Has anyone ever noticed that most smokers are of the poor and uneducated ilk?

    The parents deserve the home they now have.

    1. Kathy says:

      You actually think they owned the home? Can you say “Section 8?”

      1. MissS says:

        @ Kathy….since you are a know it all… they owned it. NO it wasn’t section 8. Try not to stir up too much trouble or rumors hiding behind your computer. K thanks.

      2. MissS says:

        @ Kathy – Since you are a know-it-all….FYI – they OWNED it. NOT SECTION 8. Try not to stir up too much trouble on the web or rumors since you know everything.

    2. MissS says:

      Grouping people together to stereotype or sociologically judge them is just very narrow minded, ignorant and stupid – makes me question your educational background and ethics. The only thing people must noticed the huge chip on your shoulder and how silly you sound. Pathetic.

      1. MissS says:

        Opps posted twice….that’s ok….just incase you really need to get the point.

  7. Rachel says:

    it’s the same story over and over again. People have kids and do not want to watch them. However, many of them do not work and have nothing else to do so they should be watching them more closely. We keep hearing stories of how toddlers and young childern get in to things because parebts aren’t watching them. For example, the young children who walk out of the home and are found walking the streets alone or wander into traffic. Why is it that the mothers who work a job are also able to organize what needs to be done with their kids and do both tasks successfully?

  8. Matthias says:

    @ Rachel,

    The answer is actually quite simple. Those types of parents possess poor parenting skills, which includes selfishness and apathy.

  9. LC says:

    Is there an address where we can send donations to this family?

  10. MissS says:

    @ LC…that is very kind of you. I am sure if you contact KDKA or the Red Cross they can advise you of who to get in contact with for them. I do know the family’s situation and I can tell you that they are really in need at this time. They have had a VERY rough few years and faced some very terrible tragic times on top of this event. In life sometimes things happen that people can’t always take back and hind sight is always 20/20. @ Everyone else – No one would want their whole house to burn down and loose everything – so right now it’s best not to judge or kick people while they are down more.

Comments are closed.

More From CBS Pittsburgh

Play It
Get The All New CBS Local App

Watch & Listen LIVE