A child playing with a lighter set off a fire that caused severe damage to one unit in an apartment complex on Airport Road shortly before 1 p.m. Monday.
"The child is very lucky he wasn't killed," Carson City Fire Chief Stacey Giomi said.
The fire, in the bottom of a six-unit apartment complex, caused severe damage to the bottom apartment, moderate to the unit above it and smoke damage to two more.
The flames spread up the outside wall and went into the attic, Giomi said.
No one was injured, and the fire department was able to rescue several animals, Giomi said.
When neighbor James Collegde smelled the smoke, he knew something was wrong. He opened the door and the whole stairwell was filled with smoke, he said. He ran down the stairs to see if anyone needed help, got one dog out of the bottom apartment and tried to use a fire extinguisher to put out the flames. Another resident also attempted to put the fire out.
Collegde retrieved one neighbor's child and his own before evacuating the unit. He stamped his bare feet and comforted his own children on the lawn of the apartment complex, fighting against the cold.
Anyone who is concerned about their child playing /w fire can contact the fire department to enroll them in the Juvenille Fire Setters program.