Mother preaches fire safety after her 14-year-old daughter was arrested for setting fire in her Sunset home

St. Landry Parish

UPDATE: SUNSET, La. (KLFY) — The 14-year-old is back in her house after learning an important lesson in fire safety. It’s one that her mother wants other parents to know, so they don’t end up in the same situation.

“It can happen in a blink of an eye. It was scary,” remembered Sherita Smith.

Sixteen people were enjoying a Sunday lunch when an argument erupted. Smith said when her teenage daughter retreated to her room, a lighter she left unattended sparked a dangerous idea. Soon Smith’s husband caught the smell of smoke.

“My first reaction was to get everybody out of the house, and I thank God for my husband thinking quickly as he does because he saved us. Now we still have our house to stay in,” Smith said.

State Fire Marshal Public Affairs Director Ashley Rodrigue said there is a lesson to me learned, “Children if they are not properly educated on what the consequences of fire can be, things like this could happen.”

Though this fire didn’t spread far, the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office knows that’s not always the case, especially once kids are out of school. They advise families:

  1. Keep lighters and candles away from unsupervised children,
  2. Always have working smoke detectors.
  3. and educate your children on how dangerous fire can be.

Rodrigue said, “We all know that sometimes when crisis occurs or when an emergency occurs, we are not thinking very clearly because we are in a panic mode. Having these several proactive steps in place will certainly help to prevent a situation where someone would have to be reactive in one of the worst situations there is, a fire emergency.”

Smith’s daughter was booked into the Lafayette Parish Juvenile Detention Center on one count of aggravated arson but bailed out. Now the family is making sure her younger siblings have learned from the experience.

“For the past two days, that’s all I’ve been talking about. Fire. Fire. I’ve got to teach them,” Sherita Smith concluded.

You can get a free smoke alarm through Operation Save A Life here.

ORIGINAL STORY: SUNSET, La. (KLFY) — Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s (SFM) deputies have arrested a 14-year-old girl who allegedly set a fire in her own closet Sunday afternoon while her mobile home was full of visiting residents.

The juvenile was booked into the Lafayette Parish Juvenile Detention Center on one count of aggravated arson, according to SFM Public Affairs Director Ashley Rodrigue.

Sixteen people were in the residence in the 200 block of Doral St. at the time of the fire. The Sunset Volunteer Fire Department and the SFM determined the fire originated in a bedroom closet. The girl later admitted to setting the fire out of anger following an argument with her parents.

“The SFM would like to remind parents and guardians, with the end of the school year approaching, that summertime is a common time for juveniles to get into mischief due to a lack of structured and scheduled activities,” said Rodrigue. “Because of this, it is recommended to make sure all smoking-related materials in and around your home are kept out of the reach of children. In addition, please remind your children and teenagers that fire is not a toy and that playing with fire can have dangerous consequences for them as well as the people and property around them.”

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