7-year-old boy playing with lighter starts Lauderhill apartment fire

15 people displaced in fire

LAUDERHILL, Fla. – Fifteen people were displaced Monday after an apartment fire in Lauderhill. 

The fire, which affected six units, was started when a 7-year-old boy was playing with a lighter, fire officials said.

Authorities said the boy found the lighter on a windowsill. He tried to put out the flames alone, but the fire quickly spread from the bedroom to the rest of the apartment.

"Were you afraid?" Local 10 News reporter Layron Livingston asked the boy.

"Yes," Woodkely Gonassaent said.

"What did you do afterward?" Livingston asked.

"I just ran out to get a pot and just get water," Woodkely said.

Nine of the people who were affected by the fire, which struck in the 5300 block of Northwest 19th Street, had been living in the same apartment.

Woodkely, his sisters, his cousins and his aunts went running. 

"I just see the fire (and) I'm so scared," one of the victims, Roseline Cleovius, said.

Woodkely is set to attend the Broward Sheriff's Office's Juvenile Firesetter Prevention Intervention Program. The class stresses fire safety. 

"Supervise your children," Lauderhill Fire Rescue Department Assistant Chief Jeff Levy said. "Put away all lighters and matches." 

The American Red Cross is helping the victims of the fire. 

"I don't know where I can find to live now," Larose Noziur said. "(A) kid is (a) kid. Kids can do anything. They don't know what they're doing."

No injuries were reported. 

Woodkely told Local 10 News that he has learned his lesson about the dangers of playing with a lighter and said that he won't pick one up again.


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