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Fire guts Seminole apartment after kids play with cigarette lighter

SEMINOLE — Firefighters have extinguished a blaze at an apartment complex that started after children played with a lighter, authorities said.

A family was able to escape the 10:15 a.m. fire at 12420 Rose St. Apt. 21 with minor injuries, said Seminole Fire Rescue spokesperson Alison Shanabrook. The fire was put out shortly after units arrived.

The family included Amanda Clark, 28, Jacob Benkirk, 5, and Jesse Benkirk, 3.

The apartment was extensively damaged, Shanabrook said, and adjacent units were damaged by smoke. The family in Apartment 21 and a family in an adjacent unit have found temporary housing through the Red Cross.

Shanabrook said Clark's two boys were playing with a lighter and accidentally set a mattress on fire. The boys went to wake up Clark and ran out of the apartment.

"Their apartment was completely gutted," said neighbor Drew Peterson said. "There's nothing salvageable."

Fire guts Seminole apartment after kids play with cigarette lighter 06/15/09 [Last modified: Monday, June 15, 2009 2:11pm]

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