OILDALE, CA - Arson investigators say a child playing with a lighter and candles sparked an Oildale house fire that killed a toddler Wednesday. The fire on Washington Avenue killed 21-month-old Aiden McDonald.
The coroner determined McDonald died of smoke inhalation and ruled his death an accident. There is a growing memorial of stuffed animals outside the McDonald's home and across the street donations are piling up for the family.
Four young boys were trapped inside the home when it went up in flames. Family members could only get to McDonald's three older brothers. Firefighters say the toddler was trapped in a back bedroom of the home.
"Our fire investigators came forward with their portion of the case and they determined that the cause of the fire was caused by juvenile or juveniles playing with a lighter and candles," explained Corey Wilford, Kern County Fire Department.
Firefighters want to remind parents it's always important to talk about fire safety with your children.
"Make sure your kids are well-versed on what to do in case of a fire but also, what to, and to not play with," said Wilford.
"Generally, we always hear, stay away from matches. If you see matches, tell an adult. I mean those are so true. We want to make sure kids know that. It's unfortunate this happened but we don't want this is to be the reason to talk to your children," he continued.
The Sheriff's Department says both parents were in the front yard when fire broke out. Deputies say the mother and father went inside when they saw the flames. They rescued three boys, but were unable to find the youngest.
The Sheriff's Department's report doesn't indicate whether anybody was inside the home at the time of the fire. A Sheriff's spokesman says nothing suggests a criminal investigation.
Deputies say there were no signs of child endangerment at the time of the fire. The department wont be recommending any charges to the District Attorney's Office because it says this was just a tragic accident.