NEWPORT NEWS - A 3-year-old boy is being treated for breathing in a lot of smoke when fire started in his home in Newport News.

Family members say he was was playing with a lighter under the bed and the room caught fire.

When crews arrived around 10:30 p.m., the child was trapped inside the burning apartment on 16th Street. Police were first on the scene and tried to get in, but the smoke and heat were too intense.

Firefighters were close behind and quickly made their way into the two-story apartment. They found the child in an upstairs bedroom.

A neighbor said the child's mother was distraught.

'Iwas praying with her, I was crying with her, it was very emotional,' she said.

A woman who identified herself as the boy's aunt said he's sedated at the hospital and he's being treated for smoke inhalation.

Authorities say he was taken to Riverside Hospital and then transferred to a hospital on the Southside. His condition is not being released.

A police officer was also treated for minor smoke inhalation.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but investigators believe it was an accident.

Firefighters say they didn't hear any smoke detectors while they were inside and they explained why.

'This typically happens with smoke detectors. They are plastic and as the fire progresses, the temperature levels at the ceiling get really high, sometimes in excess of a thousand degrees, so the smoke detector actually melted,' said Battalion Chief Chief Steve Pincus.

The fire department will install free smoke detectors for any Newport News homeowner. Call the 'Smoke Detector Hotline' at 926-8009 to make arrangements.

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