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Oakland boy dies after playing with a lighter

Jah-Ress CombsJah-Ress Combs would have been a third-grader at East Oakland PRIDE Elementary School this fall. The 7-year-old boy died on Saturday from burn injuries. He had been playing with a lighter at his home on Friday night when he accidentally lit his clothes on fire, fire officials said.

A horrible story. I can’t imagine what his mother and aunt are going through.

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Nextset

    Are there any records anywhere of mortality for OUSD students? I know the coroner usually produces a report each year of deaths in the county with tables showing ages & causes of deaths. These annual reports are sometimes used to allocate resources for safety programs such as water safety, traffic safety, public health and the like.

    If we can’t find a mortality table specifically for OUSD students I suppose the county annual report could be used to see if there are any trends we should be aware of in mortality in children in this area – to see if something needs to be done.

    My orientation when confronted with these horrible incidents is to see if there is action that should have been taken or needs to be taken in the future to avoid more of the same (and who is responsible..).

    When I think of the deaths/near deaths I remember from my childhood classmates I do remember the efforts of the schools to coach us in how to avoid the most likely “accidents” – and that the boys tended to have more incidents than the girls. Yes, we did things that we knew we shouldn’t be doing which is why we waited for the parents to be gone or not looking. There were guns, explosives, fire and electrical experiments. Sometimes indoors. Yes, we’d have to air the house out before the parents returned. I can’t even remember what we were thinking at the time – it was (usually) a weekend and we were young. Once we could drive we settled down into merely driving too fast. Tickets and repair bills we had to pay got that adjusted soon enough.

    Sometimes you wonder how we all made it. We did observe older people using things in a controlled manner before we decided to try it for ourselves. Maybe we just picked up just enough lessons about distance, combustibles and space to keep from getting burned. Or we were the lucky ones.

    His family may not have even known he had the lighter. If my parents/teachers saw them they’d confiscate them.