- Associated Press - Friday, February 21, 2020

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - A fire that displaced 16 people from their apartments started when a 7-year-old boy home alone accidentally set fire to a couch while trying to light a candle, fire officials in Rhode Island said.

The boy’s mother had left for work and his father had not yet arrived home, Battalion Chief Kevin Jutras said.

The boy tried to light the candle and instead set fire to the couch in the third-floor unit at about 5:30 p.m. Thursday, he said.

The child banged on a window and two neighbors saw and rescued him.

Firefighters put the couch fire out quickly, but because of water damage, electricity to the building was shut off and other residents were forced out. The Red Cross said nine children and seven adults needed alternate shelter.

The boy and his two rescuers were taken to the hospital as a precaution.

State child welfare authorities were informed because the child was left home alone.

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