MCKEESPORT (KDKA) – A fire that destroyed three houses and left a 2-year-old girl dead is believed to have been started by a child playing with a cigarette lighter.
According to District Attorney Stephen Zappala, a 5-year-old cousin of the victim started the Sunday night fire on Soles Street.
“It appears that a child had set the fire,” said Zappala. “Right now, CYF is evaluating what to do with the child.”
Zappala cannot file charges against the 5-year-old boy, but will let the courts decide whether the child should go into treatment and/or foster care.
Politicians and fire investigators returned to the scene Thursday, trying to make sense of it and trying to figure out what to do.
“This was not an accident,” Zappala. “You light pieces of paper together, furniture starts to combust. Given the structure of the house and the construction of the house, it went up in a hurry.”
It’s believed the child has started fires in the past.
The little girl who died has been identified as Ayanna Lisa Brooks.
Two sisters lived in the home with their five children.
The little girl’s mother was out of town visiting a relative in Florida at the time of the fire.
Meanwhile, it’s believed Ayanna was overcome by fumes and died quickly.
“The 2-year-old died of smoke inhalation, according to the medical examiner. She didn’t die in the fire,” Zappala said. “The child was probably hiding; we believe hiding from the fire.”
Three homes were destroyed and a fourth was damaged, which left four families displaced.