Crime & Courts

Child playing with lighter starts house fire

A child playing with a lighter on a living room couch started Friday's house fire in the King Park neighborhood of Columbia.

The house at 2403 Santee Ave. was gutted, and a car was destroyed.

Deputy Chief Aubrey Jenkins said an investigator ruled the fire an accident after finding that a 7-year-old visitor started the fire.

That child, and a preschooler who lived in the home, awakened a sleeping adult to the fire.

Another adult who lives in the home had left for work.

No one was injured in the fire, but damage at the house, now uninhabitable, was placed at $30,000. An older model Mercury Cougar in the driveway sustained $2,500 damage.

Jenkins said the Red Cross is assisting the family of three. Efforts to reach the Red Cross were not successful.

- Dawn Hinshaw