WICHITA — A child playing with a lighter started a fire that destroyed a house converted into a duplex in Delano early this morning, authorities said.
The fire was reported shortly after 6 a.m. at 129 N. Charles, a Sedgwick County dispatch supervisor said. Three adults and two children were able to escape the fire without injury, Wichita Fire Lt. Joe Evans said.
"When fire crews arrived, they had heavy fire showing from the second floor," Evans said.
Fire damage was limited to the second floor, but water, smoke and debris damage was substantial on the first floor, Evans said.
"A 6-year-old was playing with a lighter and caught some stuff on his bed on fire," Evans said.
Two boa constrictors in aquariums died in the fire, Evans said.
"The occupant wanted to go in and see if his snakes were still alive," he said. "We couldn't let him in because it was still unsafe on the second floor."
Firefighters went back in the house and brought the aquariums with the snakes outside. The owner confirmed the snakes were dead.
The blaze caused an estimated $80,000 damage to the house and its contents.