Officials: Boy playing with lighter resulted in deadly blaze

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A 5-year-old playing with a lighter in a home on Regina Place with no working smoke detectors last week sparked a deadly fire, according to Buffalo Police.

The massive fire claimed the life of the boy’s father, 55-year-old Anthony Miles. He was trapped in a second-floor bathroom. The boy made it out of the home, thanks to neighbor Lewis Varner, Jr. Varner put a ladder on the side of the home and rescued him.

RELATED | See our original report where we spoke to Varner here. He says he’s not a hero and was just being a good neighbor

Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield says the 5-year-old, who has developmental challenges, confessed to playing with the lighter. He says this fire should be a teachable moment for all residents in Western New York.

He said, “They found there was no working smoke detectors and we’re very troubled by this. We’ve gone to great lengths here at the Buffalo Fire Department, City of Buffalo, Mayor Brown, over the years have given away hundreds, if not thousands, of smoke detectors to residents in the City of Buffalo for a very, very affordable cost. You can ensure the safety of yourself and your family in the event of a fire.”

Whitfield says they’re distributing smoke detectors to every firehouse right now. The public just has to ask for them if they need them.

So far this year there have been six fire-related deaths in the city. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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