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Six homeless after boy sets fire Sunday in Lebanon

Written by Merriell Moyer and Jeremy Long/Lebanon Daily News | Nov 22, 2016 2:07 AM
Lebanon_fire1.jpg

Fire crews respond to a fire at 538 Arnold St., Lebanon, Sunday morning.(Photo: John Latimer, Lebanon Daily News)

(Lebanon) -- Six people were left homeless after a 4-year-old boy set a fire in the second-floor bedroom of his home in the 500 block of Arnold Street, Sunday morning.

Four children and two adults were displaced by the fire at 538 Arnold St., and were being helped by the Red Cross. A cat perished in the fire.

"We received reports from EMA that the fire was intentionally set. We don't know why they said that," Duane Trautman, fire commissioner for the City of Lebanon, explained as he prepared to start the investigation.

"It was in a child's bed, but we don't know why, yet," Trautman added.

The home, which is owned by Lerch Rentals, is located on a narrow street that only somewhat hampered crews.

"Getting in was tough but we're familiar with it," Trautman said about working on some of the city's narrower streets. "It's a windy day so we called for more help right away - because we have a row (of homes) here."

There was some smoke damage to 540 Arnold St., Trautman said.

The investigation revealed that one of the children, a 4-year-old boy, most likely was the person who started the fire, according to Trautman.

"It sounded like the child was trying to get attention," Trautman said. "There were no previous incidents with him starting fires before that I'm aware of."

What was used to start the fire is still unknown, but both parents smoke, so it is possible that the boy acquired some matches or a lighter, according to Trautman. The child was later taken to a local hospital for unknown injuries, but Trautman was unsure of the extent of his injuries or which hospital he was taken to.

Trautman estimated around $50,000 in damage to the building, including damages to possessions contained within the home.

Weavertown, Rural Security, Keystone, and Goodwill fire companies, fire police and the First Aid and Safety Patrol assisted on scene.

This story is part of a partnership between WITF and the Lebanon Daily News.

Published in Lebanon, News

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