Grandmother talks about house fire that badly injured 10-year-old boy

CLEVELAND -- Investigators say the fire that badly injured a 10-year-old boy on Thursday night started when the child was playing with a lighter.

Jamal Stotemire is being treated at MetroHealth Medical Center for burns over 16% of his body. His grandmother says his condition is improving, but he still has a long road ahead.

"He is doing better, just gonna be a little while before they release him and get him together, but I have faith in God and I know that he will do well," said Iris Foster.

Foster says her family is in need of prayers for her grandson, who was severely burned during a fire at his home on Buhrer Avenue in Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood.

"A little bit of everywhere, but his ears, his face, neck, some parts of his body," Foster said.

Cleveland fire investigators say Jamal had first and second degree burns. They say the fire started when Jamal was playing with a lighter in an upstairs room.

"The fire marshal said that he was playing with a lighter and it caught onto the bed and I think he thought he could put it out with alcohol," said the boy’s grandmother.

Investigators say there were actually two small fires on the second floor of the house, even though it's hard to notice the damage from the outside. Iris says Jamal himself tried to get everyone out of the house.

"He came down and told us. He was very upset and he was just screaming, 'get out, get out, the house is on fire,'" she said.

Foster says Jamal’s mother first tried to put out the flames, but by then they had become too intense. She says her grandson has learned the extent of what he did, but his family told him they are not holding it against him.

"We just tell him we love him still. I'm not mad or upset with him; I just made him know that we still love you as a family. I'm sending my prayers to him and I'm asking all my friends and everyone just send prayers up for him," she said.

Investigators say there were no working smoke alarms in the house. The Red Cross was called in to help the two adults and four children who were displaced by the fire.