Lighter caused Lorton house fire that killed boy

WASHINGTON — The fire that killed a 5-year-old boy in Lorton, Virginia, on Tuesday evening was caused by “inappropriate use of a lighter” by the child, the fire department said Wednesday. 

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department said that the fire started accidentally in the garage of a house in the 8100 block of Arcade Street a little after 5 p.m.

On Wednesday afternoon, the fire department identified the boy as Stellan Lotuno.

While firefighters were heading to the house, the boy’s mother and three neighbors — two off-duty firefighters and a retired fire battalion chief — tried to reach the attached garage through the door to the house put the fire out and rescue the boy. They were knocked back by the extreme heat and were taken to nearby hospitals for smoke inhalation. The boy was pronounced dead at the scene.

Firefighters first thought the blaze was a brush fire, but on the way to the house, they were told it was a house fire.

The boy’s older sister wasn’t home at the time. Two dogs and three birds died in the fire; two other dogs were rescued.

The fire department continues to investigate.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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