WINDER -- Investigators have determined that a chid playing with matches was responsible for a Barrow County house fire last week that displaced a family of 10, officials said.
A child playing with matches at a home on Ga. Highway 124 while the mother was attempting to cook dinner set a bed skirt on fire, and flames quickly spread, officials said.
"The mother attempted to extinguish the flames by smothering the fire but was unable to," Barrow County Emergency Services Chief Investigator Blair Darst said Monday. "She then decided to evacuate all the children ... versus attempting to extinguish the rapidly growing fire."
The family lost their home and all possessions in the Thursday afternoon blaze.
Firefighters used the situation to remind citizens that matches and lighters are dangerous in the hands of curious children. "It only takes a few seconds and the damage is done," said department spokesman Lt. Scott Dakin.
The home was insured against fire, and the family has relocated to another house in Barrow while they attempt to rebuild. Despite the loss, Dakin commended the mother's swift actions to evacuate.
"The longer you stay in the home, the higher the chance of becoming affected by carbon monoxide, or being burned and possibly killed by the fire," he said.