2006_01_lighter.jpgFire officials believe that Wednesday's fire that killed three children was started by a chlid playing with a lighter. A seven year old accidentally caused the fire in the foyer of the Coney Island apartment, and the apartment's duplex layout, with entrance upstairs and bedrooms downstairs - with no exit - trapped the three others, sisters Jahgira Sheffer and Jahnae O'Pharrow, and their uncle Ricardo Clark, a 16 year old who played basketball at Lincoln High School. A neighbor who lived in a similar building in the complex at Ocean Towers told the Post the fires in the apartments could leave people "blocked like a rat stuck in a maze."

The fire that killed four people in an illegal subdivided house in Queens last month was also started by a young child playing with a lighter.