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CHILDREN WITH MATCHES BLAMED IN $20,000 FIRE

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Kids and matches proved dangerous partners Friday as fire gutted a West Salt Lake garage - sending a child to the hospital and spreading flames to an adjoining home.

Derek Vigil, 4, suffered minor smoke inhalation during the 11:27 a.m. blaze. Fire officials say it could have been much worse."It's fortunate that our crews were able to get to the scene three minutes after the garage fire was reported," said Salt Lake Fire Capt. Dan Andrus. "The home was just starting to burn when we arrived - we're lucky it wasn't a total loss."

Chastity Archuleta was washing dishes in the single-level home at 1132 S. 700 West when she heard children screaming from the backyard garage.

"I ran outside and there was fire everywhere," she said. "I made sure all the kids were OK, then I ran back into the home to wake up my mom who was sleeping in the basement."

Some two dozen firefighters - sweating from the heat of the flames and the midday sun - attacked the engulfed garage.

Investigators say the blaze, which caused $20,000 in damage, was started by children playing inside the garage with matches. The kids were referred to the department's juvenile fire-setter program.

Weary officials repeated their plea for fire safety.

"Our people are working around the clock because of the heat and the dry conditions. Everyone needs to be very careful because fires are starting so easily," said Andrus.