Officials have released the cause of a fire that killed three people in Springfield last month.
In a joint statement from Springfield and state officials, it was announced that the March 18 fire at 49 Belmont Avenue in Springfield was caused by a child using matches.
The fire claimed the lives of Aden Abdakadr and his two children - Ahmet, 2, and Fatumo, 1.
Authorities noted that the fire began in a second floor apartment, where those victims lived.
Eighty residents of the building, many of whom were recent immigrants to the United States, were displaced.
According to the Office of the State Fire Marshal, there were 531 child and youth-set fire in Massachusetts between 2012 and 2016, which resulted in 24 civilian injuries, 27 firefighter injuries, one civilian death, and losses of approximately $7 million.
Of those fires, 51 percent of them were started by children playing with matches and lighters.
“Every fire starts small; and every fire has the ability to take a life, which is why adults need to take every use of fire by children and youth seriously. Children do not have the ability to understand how dangerous fire is or that they cannot control it," said Mass. State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey.
It was also revealed Wednesday that a battery-powered smoke detector inside the apartment did not work and residents were alerted to the fire by smoke alarms in hallways.
“The fire department is working with the elders and leaders of the Somali and other refugee communities to provide fire safety education in order to prevent another tragedy," said Springfield Fire Commissioner B.J. Calvi.
Ostroskey noted that children using matches and lighters is a common problem nationally and young firestarters will continue to set fires until they receive proper intervention.
"Adults do not help the young firesetter if they do not react appropriately and swiftly to every fire or use of fire. Contact your local fire department, school, or social service agency for a referral to a local child and youth firesetting intervention program that can help the child," Ostroskey said.
The fire was investigated by members of the Springfield Police and Fire Departments, troopers assigned to the Hampden County District Attorney's office, and members of the ATF.
For more information about fire safety and youth-set fires, you can CLICK HERE.
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