Child playing with lighter starts house fire in Stratmoor

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - A child playing with a lighter inadvertently started a fire in a garage in the Stratmoor area Sunday afternoon.

Thanks to strong winds, the flames rapidly moved into the second floor of the home and then towards the next-door neighbors' homes.
The home is located on Paoli Grove just southeast of I-25 and South Academy.

"I go to my garage to check on my trash can because usually my trash can always blows away [in the wind]," neighbor Khadijah Henry told 11 News. "... I look up and my whole neighbor's house is on fire. So I'm like, 'Oh my gosh,' and I call 911."

Everyone inside the home got out safely, though one man suffered minor burns and had to be treated at a Colorado Springs hospital. A firefighter from Fort Carson rescued a kitten from the burning home -- his first-ever save, he told 11 News.

"He busted out [of the house] with the cat, put the oxygen on him, and he was good," Henry said.

11 News was told the cat was treated by the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region for smoke inhalation.

Firefighters from Fort Carson and Stratmoor Hills fire departments had the fire knocked down within an hour, then spent more time on scene looking for hot spots. They told 11 News that while most of the damage was in the garage, the fire caused much more damage to the rest of the home than it normally would have because of the wind.

The Stratmoor fire chief told 11 News no one is being charged in the fire. The parents weren't negligent, the child was just playing with something they weren't supposed to.

"Just make sure that things that kids can get into that can start fires are kept away from them," the chief told 11 News Monday.