Boy, 5, started apartment fire, family says
Andrew Pentis and JJ Hensley
The Arizona Republic
Sept. 4, 2007 05:29 PM
A 5-year-old Mesa boy got a jump on a planned camping trip Tuesday morning, striking a match and
burning his family's apartment.
"We were going camping this weekend, but he obviously wanted to go sooner," said Ben Hineman,
the boy's father.
The blaze broke out in the ground-floor apartment at the Casa Mesa Estates, on the southeastern
corner of Mesa Drive and Southern Avenue, about 6:30 a.m.
Ben's wife, Angelina Hineman, said she felt smoke fill
her lungs while in bed and rushed their four children out
of the house. Ben was at work at the time.
"Unfortunatley, this is what happens when kids play with
matches," Angelina said.
Fire officials estimated the damage at $100,000.
"Everything is pretty much gone," said Michael
Hineman, Ben's brother. "I've never seen anything like
this. It even fried a set of golf clubs."
Mesa fire crews kept the flames contained to one apartment. The electrical system at the complex
was cut from four other units while crews repaired the damaged apartment.
"They're my friends, but there's nothing I can do the help them," said neighbor Brendan Rapp.
Michael Hineman said it's a shame that such a simple incident will cause so much harm to his
"They worked so hard to live in this apartment," he said. "They came up from nothing; it's definitely
Black soot sticking to the bottom of her shoes, Angelina walked out of the unit with a water bottle
filled with the family's fish.
"He is OK," she said of her son. "He's just a little shaken up."
Ben Hineman said he was trying to find the bright side of the situation.
"It's kind of scary," he said. "But at least everyone is safe."