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Fatal Fire Started By 3-Year-Old Victim

The State Fire Marshal’s office says a fire that killed a mother and her three children was started by her 3-year-old son. The woman’s sister discovered the fire when she returned from taking her son to the bus stop.

Investigators say 3-year-old Trenton Delisle set fire to items in the living room of the mobile home and it was the second fire he had set that morning. Earlier, a Bible had been set on fire inside the kitchen stove. His aunt, Amy Bouchard, who also lived in the home, extinguished that fire before taking her own son to the bus stop on Wednesday morning. When she returned to the mobile home, it was engulfed in flames. Bouchard ended up in the hospital with smoke inhalation after trying to enter the burning home and save her family.

Firefighters found the bodies of Trenton Delisle, his 2-year-old twin siblings Mason and Madison Delisle, and their mother, 28-year-old Norma Skidgel in the back bedroom. Investigators say there were no working smoke detectors inside. One was found but the battery had been removed. In addition, the rear door had been blocked by a large piece of Styrofoam, likely for insulation. Three of the victims has been autopsied by early afternoon and the State Medical Examiner’s office said the cause of death was smoke inhalation.

State Fire Marshal Joe Thomas said in a press release, “Juvenile firestarters are a huge problem in Maine and there are resources available throughout the state to counsel, educate, and treat children fascinated by fire. Parents and guardians can seek help by calling their local fire department or the State Fire Marshal’s office in Augusta.”

Thomas said Aroostook County has one of the more proactive juvenile firestarter programs in Maine, with fire and police departments and a number of social and mental health agencies active in providing resources for assistance. He said a 10-year study form 2001 to 2011 by his office showed there were 2,531 fires in Maine started by juveniles, with 14 deaths, 115 injuries, and damage of over $40 million. He said there were 276 fires last year started by juveniles in Maine. No numbers were available for 2014.

“Help is available throughout Maine,” Thomas added. “All you have to do is ask.”
This takes the death toll due to fire to 11 since Halloween. Six people were killed in an apartment fire following a Halloween party and a man in St. Francis died after an attempt to use gasoline to start a fire in the woodstove burned his house down. Mainers are urged to make sure they have smoke detectors outside all sleeping areas in their homes and that they’re in good working order.

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