News Florida Today
Smoke damage displaces family
Twins, 3, ignite mom's mattress with lighter
By Enrique Heredero
MELBOURNE -- The 3-year-old redhead walked into his mother's bedroom and picked up a melted Star Wars video and offered it to his mother.
"I'm sorry, sweetheart. It doesn't work," said 26-year-old Amanda Freida.
Freida then looked away, the damaged house smelling of smoke, and said, "They like 'Star Wars.' "
The family lost many of their belongings Thursday morning when Freida's mattress caught fire. The 3-year-old and his twin somehow got a hold of a lighter and tried to light their mom's candles on the bedpost.
"The boys kept me up last night, and I got up to fix them breakfast at around 8 a.m. We then went to the couch to watch cartoons. While I lay there, I fell asleep. At around 9 a.m, I awoke to the smell of smoke," she said.
Freida saw the glow of flames inside her bedroom and got a fire extinguisher from under the kitchen sink and was able to put out much of the fire.
Her boys and their four dogs, three Dalmatians and a puppy Chow Chow, were not hurt. A cat also was unharmed.
A wall in the living room was blackened from the smoke. Her husband, a former firefighter who was working at the time of the fire, has a fire truck collection in the living room that remained intact.
Though most of Freida's Betty Boop collection was intact, a large Betty Boop picture on her bedroom wall was destroyed.
Her bedroom was a wreck. Wet black ash was caked on the floor, a 32-inch television was melted and VCR was melted. A child's plastic fireman's hat was near the doorway to the bedroom. An assortment of children's videos were destroyed.
Precious photographs from her childhood were ruined in the blaze.
"That's my great-grandmother and me," Freida said, pointing to a blackened photograph.
Now, the family has to look for a new place to live. Freida and her children currently are staying at a hotel room provided by the Red Cross.
"We already spoke to a man we know that has a house for rent," she said. "It's going to be more expensive, so we're going to be tight on money. But we have to do what we have to do."
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06-21-2003, 11:05 AM #1
Melbourne Fla--Children with matches spark fire that damages home09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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