Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Child Sets Fire; Family Homeless

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Child Sets Fire; Family Homeless

Article excerpt

An extended family of four adults and 13 children found itself homeless Tuesday after one of the children showed his siblings and cousins how a cigarette lighter works by accidentally touching off a fire.

A youth, 7, was flicking his teen-age cousin's lighter when it fell onto the floor and ignited papers in an attic bedroom of the 2 1/2-story house at 5646 Chamberlain Avenue. The single-alarm fire burned through the attic floor. Heavy water damage also caused a break in the first-floor ceiling.

"Thank God nobody got hurt. That's the main thing. We can deal with the rest," said Deborah Hill, 40, the boy's grandmother, who was on the second floor when the boy scooted down the stairs to wake his mother, Sherritha Johnson, 21. The two women quickly got the other youngsters off the upper floors and alerted Mary McRoberts, Deborah Hill's sister-in-law, and her six children on the first floor. The fire was mostly contained to two attic rooms, but water damage ruined most of the contents, including clothing and furniture. …

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