Duluth Fire Department: Child playing with lighter caused East Hillside duplex fire
A fire set by a child playing with a lighter extensively damaged a Duluth duplex at 611 E. Sixth St. this morning. According to the Duluth Fire Department, a 6-year-old was playing with a lighter in the building's upstairs unit while his mother w...
A fire set by a child playing with a lighter extensively damaged a Duluth duplex at 611 E. Sixth St. this morning.
According to the Duluth Fire Department, a 6-year-old was playing with a lighter in the building's upstairs unit while his mother was sleeping. She awoke to find flames and quickly fled with her three children.
Next-door neighbor Deneen Dandridge said she was sleeping when she heard the woman calling for someone to call 911. "She was screaming," Dandridge said.
Dandridge said she came out to her porch and saw flames shooting from the woman's bedroom window. "I could feel the heat," Dandridge said. "When the fire department came, they told me to get everyone out of my house."
A family of seven lived in the duplex's downstairs unit. Lower apartment occupant Tim Spriggs attempted to use fire extinguishers to put out the fire but was unsuccessful. He also tried to drag the burning mattress out of the apartment but the smoke was too thick so he left the building.
Dandridge said she sent two fire extinguishers to the duplex, but the fire was too hot for them to be used. "I did everything I could. I'm so glad everyone is safe."
No one was injured in the fire.
Light smoke was coming from a window on building's second floor when firefighters arrived. By the time firefighters laid water lines up the stairs, the fire became very intense and flames were roaring throughout the apartment and out of the front windows. The fire was extinguished within 5 minutes.
The fire heavily burned two rooms of the second floor apartment and caused heavy heat damage elsewhere. The heavy smoke and heat destroyed all contents of the apartment. The fire also broke through into the attic, starting insulation on fire.
Water and light smoke caused minor damage in the first floor apartment, forcing these residents out of their home also. All the building occupants are being placed at local hotels by the American Red Cross.
Dandridge said the woman who lived upstairs was "a single mom and she just lost everything."
Damage estimates for the duplex are $70,000 for the structure and $30,000 for the contents.