Firefighters: Child Playing with Matches Starts House Fire

JACKSONVILLE - Crews in Jacksonville responded to the 600 block of Greystone Ave. where a house had caught fire Tuesday morning.

According to Southwest Assistant Fire Chief Glenn Taylor, crews were dispatched to the scene around 9 o'clock Tuesday morning. It took approximately 10 minutes for crews to put out the flames.

Officials say the home belongs to a Marine, who recently returned from a deployment in Afghanistan.

Taylor said the wife of the Marine and two of their four children were home when the fire started. The mother, Melissa Smith, was in the bathroom when she heard the smoke detector go off. She ran to her child's bedroom and found the bed on fire. An investigator with the Onslow County Sheriff's Office learned from the family's four-year-old son that he was playing with matches under the bed in that bedroom. It was determined that is what started the fire.

The home suffered extensive damage on the inside. Southwest Assistant Fire Chief Taylor said the family has lost most of their belongings.

No one was injured in the fire, but four small family pets died in the flames.

Michael Ocker, Melissa Smith's uncle, immediately drove up from Goldsboro when he heard of the fire to support the family.

Ocker said the family lost everything in the home due to smoke and heat damage, "the clothing, the food, all their possessions, we believe that a couple of the photo albums might be able to be saved."

The Smith family has a 3 year-old, 7 year-old, and 9 year-old girl. They have a 4 year-old boy. Donations from friends and the community can be dropped off at the Onslow County Sheriff's Office.


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