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April 17, 2014

Police: Child played with lighter before fire

PLATTSBURGH — Police say it appears a child playing with a lighter and a piece of paper caused Tuesday’s fire in the City of Plattsburgh.

Detectives took photos and gathered other evidence at the two-family home at 42 Smith St. and determined that a child was playing with the items on the front porch when the blaze started, Plattsburgh City Police said in a press release.

The 911 call made to Clinton County Dispatch at 10:49 a.m. reported the porch was on fire.

It was quickly engulfed in flames, but Plattsburgh City Fire Department put it out in short order.

Flames had extended into the eaves of the brick house, however, so firefighters took care to make sure no embers smoldered in interior walls, fire officials said Tuesday.

Kristin Devoe and her three children, all younger than 9 years old, were checked over by emergency responders outside the home but weren’t injured, officials said.

They were taken to the Police Department and interviewed about the blaze. 

Plattsburgh City Police Lt. Patrick Rascoe said the child playing with the lighter is younger than 8 years old. No criminal charges will be filed, he said, as a child must be at least 13 to be charged with a crime in New York state.

Devoe’s family and the other tenants of the building, Sanford Baker and Julie Castello, received assistance from the North Country Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Plattsburgh Salvation Army.

The Plattsburgh City Fire Department said the home, with about $20,000 in damage from the fire, smoke and water, will be uninhabitable until repairs are made.

Daniel and Krystol Barriere of West Chazy own the building, according to the Clinton County Real Property Office.

Email Felicia Krieg:fkrieg@pressrepublican.comTwitter: @FeliciaKrieg

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