MILWAUKEE -- More than 20 people are displaced after their apartment building near S. Muskego Avenue and W. Arrow Street went up in flames Saturday morning, May 28th. The disaster serves as an unfortunate reminder to never let your children play with fire.
Four apartments inside a multi-unit home were damaged, after a seven-year-old child tried playing with flames Saturday morning.
"It sounds as if just curiosity and experimentation had lit up a piece of newspaper on fire," said Milwaukee Fire Department Deputy Chief Aaron Lipski.
The child's mother used a fire extinguisher to try and put out the flames but it was too late.
"It just speaks to the speed with which fire can grow and spread," said Chief Lipski.
The Milwaukee Fire Department had a crew nearby and was on scene almost instantly. Everyone inside got out safely.
The American Red Cross is helping those families with temporary housing and emergency assistance. They tell us 13 adults and nine kids are displaced as a result of this fire.
"All of them are doing really well. Amazingly. They're happy that everybody got out safe. There was a couple people that had some pets they were able to save them, got them out," said Kris McAleese, American Red Cross.
The fire department says it took close to 45 minutes to get the fire under control. It caused more than $400,000 worth of damage.
Milwaukee Fire Department says this serves as an unfortunate example of what can happen when children get their hands on flames.
"Children are extremely curious characters and they're going to try things they do not understand at all the speed and the ferocity with which the fire can spread," said Lipski.
If you know a child who seems curious about playing with fire, contact the Milwaukee Fire Department. They've got a specially trained group of firefighters who speak with curious kids about the damage a fire can cause.
"Use the energy from that curiosity to steer them in the right direction and convince them what the right direction is. You might save someone's life down the road -- including theirs," said Lipski.
Deputy Chief Lipski says the seven-year-old behind this fire is a prime candidate for that program.