Child playing with lighter starts Batavia apartment fire

BATAVIA – A child playing with a lighter caused a fire at the Greeen Meadows apartment complex Saturday afternoon.

The apartment bedroom in Batavia was "almost completely burned out" when a fire began early afternoon, Batavia Fire Chief Randy Deicke said. The fire caused an estimated $25,000 in damage.

A child playing with a lighter set a bed on fire, fire officials said.

The Batavia Fire Department – along with units from Elburn, Geneva, St. Charles and North Aurora – responded to the Green Meadows apartment complex across from Batavia High School at about 1 p.m., temporarily reducing traffic on West Wilson Street to one lane.

Tony Molina, who lives in the apartment adjacent to the one affected, said his family could hear the sirens before they had a chance to call 911. His teenage daughter first noticed the fire, he said, explaining she smelled the smoke as she was getting ready for a shower.

"I'm just glad that the kids are OK," Molina said of his neighbors.

Deicke said at the scene that the fire is under investigation and noted smoke detectors were activated.

A family with children lives in the apartment, Deicke said, adding the family was home at the time it started.

Alerted by a child about smoke, a parent first tried to use a fire extinguisher but called 911 after the situation worsened, Deicke said.

The fire was contained to the bedroom, and it appeared that neighboring apartments were unharmed, Deicke said.

Nobody required medical treatment, he said.

Fire officials remained at the scene Saturday afternoon to conduct their investigation and to check for hot spots, Deicke said.

"We hate to come back," he said.