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The cause of the Friday, Feb. 14, 2020, fire in the 200 block of 9 ½ Avenue W. has been ruled accidental due to a juvenile playing with a lighter. The West Fargo Fire Department will be working with the family as part of the youth firesetters program to address this incident. The program is designed to understand they reasons the incident may have occurred and teach preventative measures to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Youth firesetting is a common, dangerous problem. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, fires started by children between 2005 and 2009 accounted for 56,300 fires with 110 civilian deaths, 880 civilian injuries and $286 million in property damage. Younger children are more likely to set fires inside the home, with many fires involving a child playing with a lighter in their bedroom.
The West Fargo Fire Department offers the youth firesetting program in conjunction with the Fargo Fire Department and West Fargo Police Department for anyone concerned about their child’s curiosity with fire or with a child who is exhibiting behaviors related to thrill-seeking or willful intent to cause destruction. Children under stress or who have recently suffered mental or emotional problems may also be at risk for experimenting with fire play. For more information, visit https://www.westfargofire.org/1037/Youth-Firesetting-and-Intervention.
The recent fire also highlighted the importance of clearing hydrants during the winter. Crews were able to quickly enter and knock down the heavy fire with the aid of hydrants in the area that had been cleared and maintained by the neighborhood. The availability of cleared hydrants allowed crews to contain the fire to one residence with no damage to other residences in the area.
West Fargo residents can adopt a hydrant by visiting www.westfargofire.org and clicking the Adopt A Hydrant icon, or directly at https://map.westfargond.gov/AdoptAHydrant. Residents can register with their email address and name, and then select a hydrant to adopt. By adopting the hydrant, residents are committing to clearing the hydrant of snow and ice during the winter and keeping an eye on the hydrant in case of any other issues.