4-year-old burns house down

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, September 6, 2007

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. - A North Augusta family has lost their home after a four-year-old boy played with a lighter he found. The boy's mother says it was an accident.

"Within a minute or two, my whole bed was completely in flames," Jennifer Vaughters said.

Someone who was visiting the home left the lighter, and four-year-old Gabriel found it. The fire started in the bedroom, and in less than 15 minutes, flames destroyed the house.

Vaughters says this wasn't the first time her son had touched a lighter.

"He'd gotten into trouble. He had just learned how--he was flicking--and I was always getting on to him about it, making him put it down," she said.

Vaughters says she wants other parents to know that in minutes everything you own can literally go up in flames.

"Within a minute, Gabriel had set the bed on fire. Things happen quickly, and make sure that they're keeping an eye out, because you never know."

Officer David Harris says many people don't realize how flammable mattresses are. "Anytime you get into that situation and a spark flies, if it gets onto the mattress it can go up very quickly," he said.

Vaughters agrees. She and her son are currently living with relatives. She says she's just glad everyone made it out of the house safely.

Arrangements for counseling have been made for Gabriel.

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