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Home destroyed after boys ignite helmet

Two boys who woke before their father Saturday morning started a fire that destroyed their home.

The boys, ages 10 and 12, were playing with candles, trying to see how quickly different plastic items would melt in the flame, authorities said. One thing they tried to melt was a bicycle helmet.

"They ended up leaving it unattended for a while, thinking it was no longer burning," said Alison Shanabrook, spokeswoman for the Seminole Fire Department. "It ended up catching the entire house on fire."

Minutes after leaving the helmet, the boys spotted a glow coming from another room and ran to wake their father, Robert Rheam. He tried to put out the fire with an extinguisher before the family fled the home at 8967 90th Ave. N, near Starkey Road.

One neighbor called the Fire Department and another ran down the street to the nearest fire station, less than a block away.

Firefighters arrived at about 7:30 a.m.

Despite the fire station's proximity, the fire destroyed the home, causing an estimated $100,000 damage.

The Red Cross planned to find a temporary place for the family to stay, Shanabrook said.