A memorial was set up next to the home where a fire claimed a child on May 2, 2013. (Dave Lawrence/FOX5)
A child was found dead in a house that caught fire near downtown Las Vegas on Thursday. (Las Vegas Fire & Rescue)
Firefighters said a second child was taken to a hospital for treatment. (Las Vegas Fire & Rescue)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -
Investigators said they believe children playing with fireworks are to blame for a house fire that claimed the life of a child on Thursday. Neighbors identified the victim as 7-year-old Jacob West.
The fire was reported about 4:20 p.m. on Howard Drive, near Fremont Street and Oakey Boulevard.
Firefighters located the body of a child as they were fighting the blaze. That child's brother was taken to a hospital for treatment of first-degree and third-degree burns.
Las Vegas Fire and Rescue spokesman Tim Szymanski said it appears the brothers and two other children were playing with fireworks at an abandoned home, which had been vacant for a day.
"Someone should've reported to the police that there's a vacant house and there's kids running in and out, so that somebody could've come here and secured the house," Szymanski said. "This might have been avoided."
The fire started in a tool shed behind the home. The two other children involved were able to escape unharmed.
West was a first-grader at Will Beckley Elementary School. The Clark County School District said grief counselors were at the school Friday.
"It's really sad to know that your little one passed away like that," said Lucy Rodriguez, who lives in the neighborhood. "That's the worst feeling. You will never get to see the kid play again, grow up and smile."
On Friday, Szymanski put down rumors that fireworks were being sold out of ice cream trucks to children in the neighborhood. He said novelty items, known as "poppers," which make a popping sound when they are thrown on the ground, are most likely what was being sold from the trucks. He said those are not classified as fireworks.
"They are like the caps that are used in cap pistols - very small and they just pop," Szymanski said in a written statement to FOX5. "The fireworks that people were telling us about that the kids were using and may have been connected to the fire were the illegal type that explode. They have a higher yield and can start a fire."
The fire caused about $75,000 in damage to the vacant house.
The American Red Cross is assisting the deceased child's family.
The identity of the child who died was not immediately released.
FOX5's Azenith Smith reported that police are not expected to file charges in connection with the fire, calling it an accident.
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