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home : latest news : latest news October 20, 2014

4/19/2013 7:16:00 AM
Chino Valley family loses everything in house fire; toddler was playing with lighter in closet
Chino Valley Fire District/Courtesy photoChino Valley Fire District firefighters put out a structure fire Wednesday morning at a home in the Bright Star subdivision of Chino Valley that started in a coat closet.
Chino Valley Fire District/Courtesy photo

Chino Valley Fire District firefighters put out a structure fire Wednesday morning at a home in the Bright Star subdivision of Chino Valley that started in a coat closet.

Little remains salvageable of the possessions that Heather Wright and her fiancé Aaron Humphrey called their own earlier this week.

On Wednesday, Chino Valley Fire District firefighters put out a blaze at the home the couple rented in the Bright Star subdivision of Chino Valley. The fire, according to CVFD's Rob Zazueta, was started by their young son, who had been playing with a lighter in a coat closet.

Wright told firefighters that she and her son were watching television in the back room when the smoke detectors went off. She found smoke coming from a closet in the front room, called 911 and left the home with her son, Zazueta said.

Wright's mother, Teryl McClung, said that Heather was tired after an all-night shift and had dozed off and on as she watched her son. The son went into the closet with the lighter, then returned to his mother, and the detectors activated shortly thereafter, McClung explained.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the flames in the living room, but the amount of smoke damage inside made the home uninhabitable, Zazueta said. McClung said that her daughter had left the home with nothing but a robe and had to borrow clothing from a neighbor.

Trauma Intervention Program volunteers helped the family with living arrangements, and the homeowners were going to stay with family, Zazueta said. McClung confirmed that her daughter, who is expecting another child, along with her husband and son, are staying with her.

Two Chino Valley crews and one Prescott fire crew responded to the scene.

"Following the investigation of the fire scene, it was discovered that the fire started in a coat closet when the toddler in the home discovered a lighter and was playing with it," Zazueta said.

The functioning smoke detectors were critical in alerting residents about the fire, Zazueta said.

Chino Valley firefighters remind people to test smoke detectors monthly and keep all ignition sources away from children, Zazueta said.

McClung said that Wright and Humphrey had decided against purchasing renter's insurance because they believed it to be cost-prohibitive.

"Since then we've looked around and found that it's actually very affordable," she said.

A benefit account in the name of Heather Wright has been established at Wells Fargo Bank; donations can be made at any Wells Fargo branch.

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