A 7-year-old Utah boy is dead after being severely burned while reportedly playing with matches.
According to local news affiliate KSL-TV, the tragic incident occurred in an alleyway in Salt Lake City neighborhood Saturday night. Police were called to the scene by residents after a fire had started in the alleyway, and when authorities arrived on scene, they discovered a 7-year-old boy had been horribly burned. A 9-year-old who was also there at the time of the incident was thankfully left uninjured.
Per SLC Fire Capt. Tony Stowe, a preliminary investigation determined that the 7-year-old and 9-year-old were “playing with matches and some type of accelerant” while attempting to melt a fence. Unfortunately, the accelerant apparently got out of control, and the younger boy accidentally set himself on fire. Stowe confirmed that the blaze moved so quickly and so thoroughly that it “burned off most of the boy’s clothing” while causing second-degree burns to more than 90 percent of his body.
First responders and neighbors at the scene were able to extinguish the flames and wrap the boy in a blanket before an ambulance transported him to Primary Children’s Hospital, where he was admitted in critical condition. Sadly, the severe burns proved to be too much, and the young boy was pronounced dead hours later at the hospital.
Authorities did not release the boys’ identities, but KSL-TV spoke to residents neighboring the scene who confirmed the 7-year-old victim was named Kaisen Dam. Apparently, he was universally loved by the other children on their street, as he was always outside wanting to play games and have fun.
Neighborhood friend Sito Tausinga recalled Kaisen’s shining personality in an interview, stating (below):
“He’s like a little brother to us. He was really close . He’s the one who brings everyone together. He has like no electronics , so he knocks on people’s houses and says, ‘Can your kids come play?’ And I see them all laughing outside and playing with him and it’s cute.”
Sito’s sister Fane Tausinga added more:
“I’m really sad. He would just come ride bikes with us, and then he started to know us, and my mom loved him. Yesterday, he just came around and he was like, ‘I’m bored.’ And I opened the window and I said, ‘Go home’ And three hours later, we found out there was a fire in the back. My auntie called my mom, and we just heard my mom screaming, and we all came over here.”
For now, the incident remains under investigation by both the SLC Fire Department and the city’s police department, as they confirmed on Twitter on Sunday:
Here’s more on Dam’s tragic death, from KSL-TV (below):
Our thoughts and prayers are with Dam’s family most especially, as well as his beloved friends in his neighborhood and all the others are now left without that ray of sunshine in their lives.
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