9-year-old girl admits to accidentally starting house fire

Great Dane killed in fire, two cats injured, all 10 people in house evacuated

SIOUX CITY, Iowa - A family home on the 2200 block of Boies Ave. was destroyed in a matter of 20 minutes Monday morning when fire crews were dispatched to a structure fire. 
 
"It slipped out of my hands, I tried to catch it, so I caught it and one of the flames got on me and then I threw it on the couch," says 9-year-old Unique Montelongo. 
 
An accidental slip after playing with a lighter called for five fire engines rushing to the scene at 8:50 a.m. Ten people who were in the house at the time were able to safely evacuate. They say they were all gathered for a Father's Day celebration. 
 
"Me and my roommate were sleeping in the back room with my son and we had his kids over for the night and his son came in and woke us up and said there was a fire. I thought he was kidding at first and I pushed my roommate off the bed and said, 'I think he's not kidding.' He ran out and when I went out to the living room, there was just nothing but smoke and my daughter came and told me that his daughter was playing with a lighter and it started from there," says Melissa Riessen, in house when fire started. 
 
A Great Dane was trapped inside and never made it out while two cats escaped with injuries. All 10 family members who were inside at the time are still alive and safe. 
 
"The neighbor across the street was beating on the door at 9 o'clock this morning to get us out safely. I'm super, super grateful for the neighbors and their quick response to get my sons and myself and our pets out of the house this morning," says Jennifer Hacket, neighbor. 
 
Although the kids who were involved with playing with the lighter say it was an accident, they learned an important lesson.
 
"Don't play with fire, never play with fire," says Unique and Trintyn Montelongo. 
 
One fire fighter was injured while trying to put out the flames. Officials say he twisted his knee during the suppression process. 
 
The home is at a total loss. 

More Stories

Don't Miss

  • Mr. Food
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Storm Chasers
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Hometown Heroes
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Support Siouxland Soldiers
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Cubs Baseball Schedule
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest News

Video Center