No charges against child who set fatal Ohio fire

By Dana Wilson
The Columbus Dispatch

MARION, Ohio — A midday apartment fire that killed two children in Marion last month was set by a child playing with a cigarette lighter, Marion County Prosecutor Brent W. Yager said yesterday.

Investigators for the state fire marshal determined that the blaze began when a blanket ignited in a bedroom shared by four siblings, the oldest of whom was 4, Yager said.

The case is being treated as an accident, Yager said.

"There will be no charges pursued against a young child like this," he said. "They can't form criminal intent. I'm sure they didn't understand the disaster they caused ... but we think there are still a couple of unanswered questions that we want to try to find the answers to."

Eight-month-old Madison Barrett and her brother, Jacob Tackett, 2, died in the May 8 fire along Blaine Avenue. Two siblings survived: Logan Tackett, 4, and Mackenzie Barrett, who was 19 months at the time. Their mother, Cheyenne Tackett, 20, and the father of two of the children also survived, Yager said.

Yager confirmed that the adults were home when the fire broke out, but he declined to say whether they might face criminal charges. "We haven't closed our investigation," he said.

Marion Fire Capt. Charles Eldred said the fire started about noon on the second floor of the apartment building and was contained to two rooms, including the children's bedroom.

The 4-year-old boy admitted to investigators that he had lighted bedding on fire, Eldred said. The adults said they were asleep when the fire started.

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