5-year-old boy starts apartment fire in northeast Portland - KPTV - FOX 12

5-year-old boy starts apartment fire in northeast Portland

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A 5-year-old boy playing with a lighter started an apartment fire that forced two families from their homes Wednesday evening, said investigators.

The fire started just before 5 p.m. at the Fircrest Apartment in the 19500 block of Northeast Halsey.

"I got a phone call while I was at working saying my house was on fire," said Ivy Moore, who lived at the apartment with her husband and two young children.

Moore said they lost everything they owned in the fire.

Julia Palmer was babysitting Moore's children and two other grandkids in the apartment when the fire started.

She said her 5-year-old grandson snuck into a back bedroom while she was making dinner and set a bed on fire.

"He had to go looking for that lighter," said Palmer. "He had to climb up on something to get to that lighter."

Palmer said she tried to fight the fire herself, using pots and pans full of water from the kitchen, but the smoke became too thick.

"I just grabbed my grandkids, the four of them, ages 1 to 5, and got them out," she said.

Firefighters quickly got the fire under control.

Another family below the Moore's apartment was forced out because of water damage from firefighters.

"Keep lighters, matches, anything away from children," said Palmer. "If you think they're away from them, think again. These young kids these days are too smart."

The Red Cross was on the scene helping the displaced families find temporary shelter.

Donations for the family can be made at any Key Bank under the account #374261001951.

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