Child Playing with a Lighter Sparks Fire

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Investigators in Lackawanna County said Friday a child playing with a lighter sparked a fire that forced two families out of their homes.

Evelyn Confletti was at work when she heard her home had caught fire. By the time she got there, the flames had spread to the attached home, and both were destroyed.

Fire investigators said it all started with a lighter.

Neighbors on Wyoming Avenue in Carbondale watched the fire nervously, hoping the flames wouldn't spread any farther.

"All of a sudden, the fire hit the telephone wires and it started sparking and everything and we all ran," said neighbor Elijah Varela.

The fire chief was just around the corner when the smoke started rising. He called for help, but the flames spread so quickly there wasn't much of the double block home left to save.

"When I saw the smoke, I knew everything was gone," said one fire victim's mother Evelyn Christopher.

Two families were displaced, including some children who were home at the time of the fire. Fire officials said everyone was out safely before the trucks even got there.

Evelyn Confletti rushed home from work to find her home destroyed, but her two young children safe. Later she'd learn that one of them playing with a lighter caused the fire.

"My life was in that house, pictures that can't be replaced, I had everything in that house," Confletti said.

Confletti's home and the one attached could not be saved and the homes on either side were also damaged. Firefighters said it could have been much worse because the fire spread so fast.

"Too fast, too fast in my opinion," Carbondale Fire Chief Tom Brennan said.

A state police fire marshal said the flames started upstairs. He said a five-year-old boy was playing with a lighter and set fire to a playpen.

The 10 people forced out of their homes by the fire in Carbondale are being helped by the American Red Cross.