MERRILLVILLE | A 10-year-old playing with matches set the family home in Merrillville on fire Wednesday night, causing $20,000 in damage and rendering the home temporarily uninhabitable.
Fire Marshal Phil Topor said firefighters were called at 9 p.m. Wednesday to a single-family home in the 9100 block of Wright Street by its residents.
They were alerted to the fire by smoke detectors, Topor said.
When firefighters arrived, they found a fire in a closet on the second floor. Crews extinguished the fire in about 30 minutes but remained at the scene for several hours, Topor said.
No one was injured in the blaze.
The family was making its own housing arrangements, Topor said.
"It's not uncommon for children as young as 3 to set fires," Topor said. "We have to make sure we're keeping smoking materials out of their reach."
Topor said Merrillville firefighters were called to another preventable fire at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in a laundry room at Broadmoor Apartments, 4100 W. 79th Court.
The blaze was contained to the laundry room and no evacuations of residents were necessary, he said.
Topor said the apartment building fire, which caused about $1,000 in damage, was ignited by an excess of lint built up in a dryer.
"As with anything else, you have to maintain your dryer vents periodically and keep them free of lint," Topor said.