Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Boy, 5, likely causes fire that damaged Holiday home

HOLIDAY — They knew the little boy played with fire but they thought it was under control. Two years ago, when Tristan Folkman was 3, he lit a corner of the carpet on fire because he wanted to see a fire truck, said his mother, Danielle Folkman.

Folkman and her partner, Jessica Flanders, tried to keep lighters out of reach. Tristan's fixation on fire seemed to ebb.

"He was doing great — up until today," Folkman, 24, said Tuesday afternoon, as she stood in front of the remains of her home. The house at 3133 Darlington Road in Aloha Gardens in Holiday caught fire about 1:15 p.m. Two newborn kittens died and a third was rescued from the debris and suffered injuries, but is expected to survive.

Two adult cats and a dog were also rescued unharmed.

Fire investigator Abbie Bennewitz said it appears the fire was started in a bedroom by a child playing with a lighter.

"It appears to be an accidental fire," Bennewitz said.

The shell of the home remained intact, but smoke and fire damage inside the home was extensive, Bennewitz said. The Red Cross is assisting the family with temporary housing.

Flanders, 24, was at home with Tristan, 5, when the fire started, said Folkman, who said she was at work. Folkman said she had not yet asked Tristan what happened. She wanted things to calm down first.

Folkman said she was told by fire officials that Tristan has to be enrolled in a fire safety class.

"You're never prepared for something like this," Folkman said. "My main concern was that everybody was okay."

Erin Sullivan can be reached at or (727) 869-6229.

Boy, 5, likely causes fire that damaged Holiday home 06/28/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 8:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. For starters: Rays looking for runs and a win



  2. United Airlines CEO to investors: We'll be more focused on customers


    CHICAGO — The CEO of United Airlines assured shareholders Wednesday that the company is doing all it can to be more customer-friendly since video surfaced of a passenger being violently ejected from a plane last month.

    Chicago Police arrest protesters after they sat down in a busy street blocking traffic outside a United Airlines shareholders meeting Wednesday, in downtown Chicago. The people who were arrested were protesting the low pay of employees of companies that provide meals and other services for United Airlines at Chicago's O'Hare Airport.
[Associated Press]
  3. 6 essential things you'll need before going to a theme park this summer


    With Memorial Day weekend as the unofficial start of summer, we're back with a new a guide to what's new or noteworthy in Central Florida attractions.

  4. BREAKING NEWS: High winds force Sunshine Skyway to close as storms move in to Tampa Bay

    Public Safety

    The Sunshine Skyway bridge has been closed because of the weather conditions, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office has announced.

    The Sunshine Skyway was closed Wednesday afternoon because of high winds. MONICA HERNDON   |   Times

  5. 'Biggest winner' of session, Richard Corcoran, paid $20k to the guy who named him biggest winner


    In the final days of the 2017 legislative session, as Tallahassee obsessed over whether a budget deal might happen or implode like Frank Artiles' political career, Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran decided he could use some friendly P.R. Corcoran's political committee, Florida Roundtable, paid $20,000 to Extensive …