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Kenosha student sets fire during fire safety classes

Posted at 5:49 PM, Oct 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-31 18:49:02-04

A Kenosha elementary school student is recovering from minor burns after setting a fire in a school bathroom Tuesday morning. As luck would have it, this happened as fire crews were at the school teaching fire safety.
More than 200 students at Stocker Elementary School learned fire safety basics Tuesday morning. Fire prevention expert Theonita Cox was teaching students how to "stop, drop and roll," what a smoke detector sounds like and how to escape a simulated smoke-filled room when an actual fire ignited in the bathroom.

"A couple areas that were initially set, some toilet tissue, paper towels and then the garbage can resulting in a couple areas that were burned," Cox said.

Cox said the culprit was a 5-year-old boy who hadn’t been through the fire prevention drills yet.

After the fire was extinguished, that student was immediately placed in a more thorough fire prevention program called the Kenosha Juvenile Fire Setters. It’s a course for kids ages 3-17 who have a history of fire play. Cox said they first meet with the child and his or her family to determine the cause.

“It could be just curiosity, it could be a cry for help, and it could be implemented because of other things going on," she said.

Cox said the program educates around ten kids a year with a fire play recidivism rate of less than 1 percent in return.

"This program is working and it was needed," Cox said.

The Kenosha Fire Department said the boy who started the fire was taken to the hospital for burns, but he is expected to make a quick and full recovery.