A four-year-old boy started a house fire in Londonderry while playing with a lighter, it can be revealed today.
The child and his father were taken to hospital and treated for smoke inhalation after the incident at around 9am yesterday.
The Fire and Rescue Service was called to the two-storey, three-bedroom property at Glassagh Park in the Creggan area.
District Commander Willie Lynch said disaster was narrowly averted thanks to a working smoke alarm.
"A four-year-old boy was playing with a lighter in his bedroom and set fire to some cardboard boxes which had been discarded after being used to wrap Christmas presents," Mr Lynch said.
"A smoke alarm in the house alerted the boy's father. Both were taken to hospital suffering the effects of smoke inhalation."
Commander Lynch added a warning to parents to be vigilant.
"Because people are off work and kids are off school, people would maybe be prone to lying on in bed. There is also a lot more paper and card in the house after Christmas, which is also dangerous.
"My message would be for parents to always keep an eye on what children are doing."
The child's maternal grandfather, who did not wish to be named, said today the child was lucky to escape.
"We're not sure whether it was a lighter or matches or what, but the blinds on the window went up really quickly," he said.
"The family are back in the hospital again today because their younger son has been vomiting.
"The mattresses and beds are ruined and everything, it all had to be thrown out. The fire even melted the smoke alarm, but thank god it was working because it meant everyone got out alright. They were very lucky.
"The wee boy is fine, but now they are all back at the hospital because his little brother isn't feeling well - they think it might be the shock of it all."
Inside the house, black soot covered the ceilings.
Outside a pile of scorched furniture and toys today lay in the driveway.