Toddler’s Fire Play Destroys Family Home

By: Cierra Putman
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND- A Midland mother is sending out a warning to other parents when it comes to children and fire.

"My son he grabbed a lighter from our room and went into his closet and lit his clothes on fire," Kathy Lopez said. "I didn't ever see him light a lighter. I mean he's tried, but I've never seen him light it. I get onto him because I didn't want this to happen. I didn't mean for this to happen."

On Tuesday night, her three-year-old son got a hold of a lighter and in a matter of minutes the family home was filled with flames.

"I tried to put it out as much as I could but I kind of think I made it worse when I used the fire extinguisher because it made everything in the house black," Lopez's boyfriend, Ryan Pegeuse, said.

Sadly, Ryan Pegeuse's home extinguisher wasn't enough, and in minutes, a toddler's curiosity put him and his family in danger.

"He lit the shirts on fire and he couldn't get out the closet and I guess he got out," Lopez said. "They didn't notice the fire was in the closet. They smelled the fire and that's when they got everybody out the house."

Before this happened, the family tried to teach three-year-old Matthew not to play with fire.

"He's been doing it for awhile," Pegeuse said. "I've been getting onto him about the lighters and stuff." 

"A week earlier he was getting a lighter and he tried to light it," Lopez said. "I told him not to play with it that he could start a fire and he could get hurt."

Luckily no one was hurt, but now only charred remnants of their belongings is all that's left.

Looking at the side of the house, in front of it and especially through the window, it's easy to see this fire destroyed most of the family's property. What makes it even worse, is that when they came back Wednesday they learned someone had already beat them to the punch and even stole some of their stuff.    

They don't have renters insurance so they're trying to salvage everything.

"Whoever did that I just wish y'all stay out of the house until we get this figured out," Pegeuse said.

But most of all they hope other families will learn from their tragedy.

"Teach them early about fires," Pegeuse said. "Take them to the fire station and let the firemen talk to them. If you start them early it can prevent stuff like this from happening I think."