Child playing with a lighter is suspected as the cause

by: ROBIN JOHNSON - A fire consumed a Scappoose apartment Tuesday, April 8. Investigators believe the fire was set by a lighter in the hands of a child, who suffered minor burns.The Scappoose Rural Fire District responded to a fire at Creekside Apartments, located at 52520 SW Fourth Street in Scappoose, on Tuesday at 4:19 p.m. Crews arrived to find an apartment on the second story of the structure filled with smoke and fire.

The apartment was occupied by a mother and four children, according to the building’s manager. While the fire caused no major injuries, one of the children suffered minor burns and was transported to a Portland hospital, Scappoose Rural Fire District personnel said.

Cheryl Engstrom, spokeswoman for the district, said the child was talkative and seemed fine, but was transported to the hospital after his burns worsened. She said he likely did not stay overnight. Engstrom added that the child who was injured accidentally started the fire when playing with a lighter.

According to district officials, the family of four had evacuated the apartment before crews arrived. The family and apartment manager apparently tried to extinguish the flames with water and a fire extinguisher before calling 911, but were unsuccessful.

While the apartment sustained heavy smoke and fire damage, surrounding apartments in the complex remained unharmed.

“It didn’t spread to other apartments,” Engstrom said. “It’s probably just going to smell like smoke.”

The fire was under control within less than 15 minutes, Engstrom said.

The American Red Cross is responding to help the family with housing, clothing and personal items. The apartment complex is insured; the occupant is not, however, Engstrom said.

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