Children ignite fire in Escondido church

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ESCONDIDO, Calif. – Two children sparked a small fire in an Escondido church after finding a lighter in a classroom, fire officials said.

Escondido firefighters and police were dispatched just before 1 p.m. Sunday in response to a report of a possible structure fire somewhere near South Escondido Boulevard and West Seventh Avenue, Battalion Chief Mike Bertrand said. Officers arrived on scene first and discovered the blaze was inside the Iglesia Bautista Fundamental meeting house at 221 West Seventh Ave.

“Officers ensured that the building had been evacuated, as church services had just concluded, and confirmed that the fire was located in a second-floor classroom,” Bertrand said. “Escondido fire units arrived on scene and were able to contain the fire to the room of origin.”

Crews knocked down the flames in eights minutes, Bertrand said. Five engines and one water truck responded, and no firefighters or churchgoers were injured.

A fire investigator responded to the scene and determined that two children started the blaze with a lighter they found in the classroom, Bertrand said. Fire officials said the incident is a reminder to ensure matches and lighters are stored safely and that all buildings have a fire evacuation plan.

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