Evansdale fire started by child playing with lighter - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Evansdale fire started by child playing with lighter

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

Monday night's fire in Evansdale saw two heroic men save two children from a burning home.

That fire, officials say, was started by a 3-year-old playing with a lighter. 

It's not the only fire eastern Iowa has seen recently because of a young child.

A fire displaced several families in the Sheridan Village Apartment complex in Dubuque when a young child playing with a lighter started a fire.  No one was hurt in that fire.

Mark Burkle, Dubuque's Fire Marshall, said nearly 5,000 fires a year are started by children under the age of five. And nearly 100 die each year in those fires.

So what should you be doing at home to prevent a death?

Education and awareness are key, according to Jolene Carpenter with the American Red Cross. 

"We know folks have those things around the house," Carpenter said. "It's going to happen. We just need to have the conversation and then parents need to be responsible in keeping those things away from them and out of their reach."

As part of their educational campaign, the Red Cross has released an app called "Monster Guard," which is a game geared towards younger kids.  The game teaches kids about different emergency situations, including fire and fire safety.

Carpenter said the app has about 40,000 downloads already.

It's easy access and curiosity of a child that contribute to kids playing with lighters or matches.

"Kids, you know, want to play with things they know they shouldn't be playing with," Carpenter said. "The best thing for folks to do is to just keep those things up high, keep them away from kids, but talk to them about the dangers, and why they shouldn't even be handling those things in the first place."

For more safety tips, visit www.redcross.org.

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