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Nanny Lee Day Care Center Fire Determined to Be Caused by Child Playing with Matches or a Lighter

7/1/2002

EATONVILLE - State Fire Marshal investigators, assisted by the Eatonville Police Department, have determined that the June 18th fire that nearly destroyed the Nanny Lee Day Care Center was the result of a child playing with matches or a lighter inside a storage closet.

Interviews of witnesses, including the staff members and children in the care of the center at the time, were unsuccessful in determining the person or persons responsible for the fire. At this time, no evidence was found to indicate any criminal intent in connection with the fire.

Playing with fire is a leading cause of fire-related deaths among preschoolers. When children play with fire, the victims are often the younger siblings or playmates of the children who start the fire. Studies have shown that the majority of children are interested in fire, and nearly half have played with fire.

When investigators determine that a juvenile between the ages of 7 and 14 has been involved in a fire, the investigator's focus is not on prosecution but on curbing future behavior by referring the juvenile to a Juvenile Firesetter Program, which educates children and their parents on fire safety and the consequences of playing with fire.

The Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations is a law enforcement branch of the Division of State Fire Marshal that assists other state and local fire and law enforcement agencies in the investigation of fires of suspicious origin. Anyone with information about this case or any incident of fire is asked to call 1-877-662-7766 (1-877-NOARSON). Information also may be mailed to the Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations, 5340 W. Kennedy Blvd., Suite 110, Tampa, Florida, 33609-2410.