Fire investigators say a group of unsupervised children were playing with a lighter, causing the fire that killed Nathan Hines
by: Submitted photo TRAGEDY — This Warren barn exploded in flames Aug. 1, killing a 3-year-old boy who had been playing inside.

A Monday evening barn fire killed a 3-year-old boy in Warren as he was playing unsupervised in the small structure with a group of other children. Investigators said Tuesday afternoon the children were playing with a lighter, which was the cause of the blaze.

Three other boys, ranging in ages four to eight, were able to escape the fire that began just after 5:30 p.m., Aug. 1 at 3842 Slavens Road where they all live. The boys are believed to have been playing in the 60-foot by 20-foot structure. The three other children were not injured.

The three-sided barn contained hay, as well as other flammable materials, which caused explosions once they were ignited.

It took crews from the Scappoose Rural Fire District and Columbia River Fire and Rescue 30 minutes to extinguish the fire. A search for the 3-year-old, Nathan Hines, began once the building had cooled down. It took 15 minutes to find his body in the charred rubble.

Fire District spokeswoman Ronda Melton said Tuesday morning that she has seen a day care sign outside the property before.

Melton said it's important not to blame anybody for the tragic incident.

"I think that's what really touches you, it could happen to any of us," she said.

The scene was particularly tragic as firefighters worked to put out the fire, because at the same time the family was wailing in sadness, Melton said. A firefighter stayed with the surviving boys in the aftermath to make sure they were OK. A chaplain was also sent to speak with fire personnel to help them deal with their own grief following the tragedy.

This story has been updated from a previous version

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