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Children and matches a disastrous combination

Children and matches a disastrous combination

The Fire Service is concerned by four incidents in the past 10 days in which young children have narrowly escaped death after starting fires using matches or lighters.

“This is a very bad start to 2014. We would urge all parents to carefully go through their homes and their vehicles to make sure all matches and lighters, including barbecue lighters, are removed and stored safely out of the reach of children,” said the National Manager of Fire Investigation Peter Wilding.

In the latest incident, two young children set fire to their car while their mother was inside an Ohakune supermarket last Friday. Thick black smoke and tinted windows stopped people from seeing inside and it wasn’t until the children started screaming that those nearby leapt to their rescue.

On 15 January three children were rescued from a burning car outside the Palmerston North Pak N Save after they too discovered matches and lit them.

Four days later a fire lit by young boy playing with a lighter destroyed his Onehunga home. The following day, an Otahuhu house was gutted by a child playing with a lighter under a bed.

“A significant number of serious fires are caused each year by children playing with matches and lighters and they are entirely preventable. We urge the public to make sure they keep their lighters and matches well out of the reach of any children.”
The Fire Service also provides an effective intervention service for children displaying unusual or worrying fire-related behaviour. Details on this programme are at


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