My toddler burned our house down

This family's story goes to show the danger of keeping dangerous things out of reach of little hands!

Jasmine O’Malley, 25, 
Unanderra, NSW

My partner Callum, 19, and I were about to put our son Cohen, three, to bed when suddenly the smoke alarm went off. Rushing to our bedroom, I realised the bed was on fire and flames were shooting up the wall.

‘I’m sorry Mummy,’ Cohen cried.

Callum desperately tried to stop the fire while I grabbed Cohen and took him outside. ‘Stay here, and don’t move,’ I said, before heading in to help. As Callum used the garden hose, I ran outside to call Triple-0.

‘I’m sorry Mummy,’ Cohen cried. That’s when I noticed he had my lighter. I always kept it high up on top of the fridge, but earlier that day I’d lit some candles. Instead of putting it straight back, I’d put it on the bench out of Cohen’s reach – or so I thought. He must have climbed up when I wasn’t looking! I realised. I could have kicked myself. ‘It’s okay,’ I said, hugging him.

Cohen's room before the fire
Cohen’s room before the fire. (Credit: supplied)

Calling family who lived on the same street, Callum’s brother Aiden, 15, soon rushed over as Callum raced out of the house, his head covered in wet towels. He clutched my jewellery box and a framed photo.

‘That’s all I could save,’ he explained. The flames soon tore through the roof. I was so relieved everyone was safe. Lives are far more important than belongings.

The house after the fire.
Everything was destroyed by the fire. (Credit: supplied)

Firefighters put out the blaze and Callum was given oxygen. When we went back into the house hours later it was still hot and everything was destroyed.

A month on, we’re staying with Callum’s mum Renae, 37, until we find a new home. Poor Cohen keeps saying he’s sorry, but it wasn’t his fault.

‘Mummy didn’t like that house anyway,’ I tell him. And at least we’re still all together.

Originally published in that’s life! Issue 16, 2016.

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