Sterling teenager treated for smoke inhalation at fire

Posted: Friday, May 23, 2008

KENAI - A 14-year-old Sterling boy was treated for smoke inhalation after a fire he built with another boy flared up in windy conditions near a Kenai Peninsula lake.

The names of the boys were not released because of their ages.

Central Emergency Services Fire Marshal Gary Hale said the boys had been fishing at Scout Lake when they got cold and bored and decided to build a fire Wednesday despite a permitted burn suspension on the western Kenai Peninsula.

Campfires are allowed under the suspension. The boys, however, did not build their blaze in a campfire ring but on an uncleared area of dry grass, Hale said.

When the fire got out of control, the boys soaked their shirts in the lake and tried to put out the fire with the wet clothing, Hale said. Both got singed hair.

One of the 14-year-olds also had difficulty breathing and was taken to a local hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening smoke inhalation after he called 911 on his friend's cell phone, Hale said.

The fire burned a 50-foot by 200-foot area before it was put out by firefighters.

According to Hale, Alaska State Troopers did not plan to charge the boys because no structures were involved. But the Alaska Division of Forestry had not yet decided whether to file charges because of the burn suspension.

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