Child, 10, ignites blaze in basement

Published 9:49 am Thursday, July 16, 2009

A fire did minimal damage to a home in Austin Wednesday when a 10-year-old boy ignited a blaze in the basement with a lighter and a spray paint can.

The house, located on 509 13th Ave. S.W., did not sustain any structural damage. A cardboard box and some pieces of clothing were damaged in the fire, which started around 3:23 p.m. There were no smoke alarms in the house.

The boy was being watched by Tonya Bartholomew, 28, the youngest daughter of the house’s tenant, Laverne Awsumb, 45. Fire chief Dan Wilson said eight other children were in the house but no one was hurt and smoke was cleared from the property.

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Wilson said it’s important for adults to remind children about fire safety.

“Matches and lighters are tools for grown-ups, not toys,” he said.