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Published: Wednesday, 4/30/2003

Tot playing with lighter blamed for $25K blaze

A 3-year-old boy playing with a lighter is believed to have started a fire yesterday that displaced a family and caused $25,000 damage to an apartment in East Toledo.

The occupant, Sue Conner, 28, and her son were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation by paramedics. The fire at their two-story apartment at 69 Birmingham Terrace was reported by Ms. Conner at 10:37 a.m., fire Investigator Dale Pelz said.

He said it appears the boy was playing with a lighter in his 13-year-old sister's upstairs bedroom. Ms. Conner, who was sleeping in her bedroom, was awakened by smoke and smoke detectors. She saw her son standing between her bedroom and her daughter's bedroom and saw her daughter's bed on fire, Mr. Pelz said.

Ms. Conner and a friend tried to put out the flames using water in a bucket and a pail. When they couldn't, they ran out the front door with the boy. Neither the teen nor her sisters, ages 6 and 11, were home. The apartment is owned by the Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority.

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