TAMPA — A 6-year-old with a lighter started a house fire in Seminole Heights on Saturday morning, according to Tampa Fire Rescue.
Keisha Harris, 34, was at her home at 3613 E Paris St. with her four children, ages 17, 11, 6 and 2, when she heard the smoke alarm about 10 a.m. Her 11-year-old son ran from a bedroom and told her it was on fire.
Harris tried to put out the fire by throwing water on it, but it quickly grew. Everyone got out safely, and firefighters arrived and put it out in 10 minutes, Fire Rescue Capt. Bill Wade said.
Harris' 6-year-old son, a first-grader at Sheehy Elementary, admitted to playing with a lighter, setting some paper on fire and sticking the burning paper under a bed, Wade said. The 11-year-old was asleep in the bedroom and awoke to find the flames.
The fire destroyed the bedroom and sent smoke through the house. Investigators estimate losses of at least $23,000.
The American Red Cross is helping the family with clothing and temporary shelter. The 6-year-old will be referred to the Tampa Juvenile Firesetter's Program for counseling, Wade said.
Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 661-2443.