The Roanoke County Fire Marshal’s Office has determined that “juvenile fire play” is the cause of the Poor Mountain Brush Fire that was sparked on Friday, March 16 in the early afternoon.
On Friday, March 16 at about 1:30p.m., firefighters responded to a brush fire involving approximately three acres of the Fort Lewis side of Poor Mountain. Over the next three days, more than 75 firefighters from Roanoke County Fire & Rescue and the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) fought the fire in shifts. The fire was marked contained and under control late Monday afternoon after having charred 25 acres of private land.
Because juveniles are involved in this case, no additional details will be released.
Children playing with fire cause hundreds of deaths and injuries each year. Preschoolers and kindergartners are most likely to start these fires, typically by playing with matches and lighters, and are most likely to die in them.
• Store matches and lighters out of children's reach and sight, up high, preferably in a locked cabinet.
• Never use lighters or matches as a source of amusement for children; they may imitate you.
• If your child expresses curiosity about fire or has been playing with fire, calmly but firmly explain that matches and lighters are tools for adults only.
• Use only lighters designed with child-resistant features. Remember child-resistant does not mean child proof.
• Teach young children and school-age children to tell an adult if they see matches or lighters.
• Never leave matches or lighters in a bedroom or any place where children may go without supervision.
• If you suspect your child is intentionally setting fires or unduly fascinated with fire, get help. Your local fire department, school, or community counseling agency can put you in touch with trained experts.
Facts & figures
• In 2005-2009, children playing with fire started an estimated 56,300 fires that were reported to U.S. fire departments, causing an estimated 110 civilian deaths, 880 civilian injuries and $268 million in direct property damage.
• Most fire-play fires (77%) started outside, but most associated deaths (97%) were in home structure fires.
• Almost half (46%) of people who start reported home fires by playing were five years old or younger.
• Two out of five (40%) child-playing home structure fires began in the bedroom.
• Mattresses and bedding were the items first ignited in 24% of child-playing home structure fires and 29% of associated civilian fire deaths.