OZONE PARK, Queens (WABC) --There is a new push for fire safety in New York City following recent fires caused by children.
FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro held a safety event Monday on Cross Bay Boulevard at a summer camp in Ozone Park, Queens, where he urged parents and guardians of young children to take immediate action by educating them about the dangers of fire.
The push follows three major fires in the city over the past two weeks that were caused by kids, in which dozens were injured and nearly 100 displaced.
"In the last 10 days there have been three major fires in our city caused by children playing with fire - destroying or damaging 14 homes and injuring 35 people - including three firefighters who were critically hurt," Nigro said. "These are preventable fires and parents and guardians must ensure the children under their care are properly supervised, and that they don't have access to matches, lighters, open flames or other potentially dangerous sources of fire."
Nigro is also urging parents who have children who have demonstrated an unhealthy curiosity for fire to reach out to the FDNY's Juvenile Fire-setters Intervention Program. In the program, specially-trained FDNY Fire Marshals will evaluate and educate children up to the age of 12 who have engaged in fire play.
Parents can contact the program by calling 718-722-3600. Parents and guardians can also visit FDNYSmart.org for educational material to help talk to their children about the dangers of fire, as well as ways to help keep their homes fire safe.
A recent study by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) cites nearly 50,000 fires are caused nationwide by juveniles playing with fire each year - resulting in an average of 80 deaths, 860 injuries and more than $235 million in property damage.
--Aug. 9, a fourth-alarm fire originating in a two-story private dwelling at 636 East 235th Street in the Bronx completely destroyed one building and damaged another three structures. Two firefighters suffered critical injuries at the fire; a third firefighter from Queens whose unit was sent to the Bronx to provide additional fire coverage was critically injured in an unrelated accident.
Cause of the fire: Children playing with fire and a dish towel on a stovetop.
--Aug. 13, a second alarm fire occurred at 221-30 111th Avenue in Queens, a two-story residential building resulting in eight injuries (four firefighters, four civilians - none life-threatening).
Cause of the fire: children playing with matches.
--Aug. 18, a six-alarm fire on Staten Island started in a three-story residential home at 228 Benziger Avenue, completely destroying three homes and damaging four others. There were a total of 23 non-life threatening injuries (20 firefighters, three civilians).
Cause: children playing with matches.