8-year-old sets home on fire; required to join prevention program

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Fire crews say an 8-year-old boy is to blame for lighting his house on fire. This fire broke out last week, but this week authorities forced the boy to enroll in a program that teaches kids fire dangers.

The Charlotte Juvenile Starters Program or Fire Busters began over 25 years ago, but organizers say not many people know about it. Authorities say the 8-year-old lived on Henderson Circle in North Charlotte.

"I don't see why he was messing with a lighter, knowing what kind of damage it'd do,"  said his uncle, Alfred Holcomb.

Holcomb said his nephew had an early obsession with fire. Charlotte Fire Department Safety Officer Greg Francus says parents should be aware of several signs that show an obsession with fire.

"Burning toys, burning property, burning things and hiding them," Francus said.

Francus teaches the Fire Busters course three times a month. He teaches offenders from high school to preschool.

"I think the youngest that we actually see is probably about 4 years old," he said.

Francus says many kids are taught to believe fire is a good thing, because of birthday candles and bonfires. The 8-year-old was not charged, but will be if he does not complete the program.

For more on the Fire Busters Program, call 704-336-3970.

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