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Boy, 4, blame - W 48th St.

By:  Star Beacon

ASHTABULA - Keith Woodworth relaxed on his couch, watching the Cleveland Browns' game. Then he saw a fire truck speed past the front window of his West 48th Street home. "I looked outside and the flames were streaking out," Woodworth said of a blaze in an upper bedroom of a two-floor residence at 821 West 48th. As the afternoon grew chillier, two companies from the Ashtabula Fire Department responded shortly after 3 p.m. to extinguish the fire at the residence. Capt. Gerald Senger said a 4-year-old boy who lives at the home set the fire when he was playing with a lighter under his bed.

Stephanie Webb, who has been renting the building from Peggy Webber of Chardon for about a year and a half, said she had been planning to enroll her son, Xavier, in a fire safety course because he has been fascinated with flames. Senger estimated damage at $30,000 for property and $10,000 for contents. "I guess he learned the hard way not to play with fire," Webb said. Webb, her son, and her daughter, Kiarra, 5, all escaped the house without injury.

While firefighters worked to clean up the scene, Webb sat for several minutes on the footstep of a neighbor's home. She said she was not sure where she and her children would spend Sunday night. Senger said much of the damage within the home was caused by smoke, but the family would be able to enter the building early in the evening to recover some of its belongings. A unit from Ashtabula Township assisted at the scene.

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