The Denison Fire Department said two children are responsible for starting a fire that destroyed a vacant home on Sunday.

Fire Marshal John Weda said crews from Denison, Sherman and Preston were dispatched to the home in the 2400 block of West Elm Street shortly before noon Sunday, where they found the empty home fully-engulfed in flames. Weda said the home had been vacant for more than three years, but two children were seen playing near the residence shortly before the fire broke out.

“We had a witness that lived pretty close to the house and was actually walking in the park that day and saw some smoke coming from the house,” Weda said. “He went over there and found these two young boys near the house. He talked with them and they apparently attempted to put out the fire with his assistance and then the boys ran off.”

Despite their efforts, Weda said the fire kicked up again and within minutes had spread throughout much of the home. Weda said he made contact with the two boys, who were still in the area and questioned the pair.

“They admitted to playing with lighters and setting some material inside the house on fire,” Weda said.

The Denison fire marshal said the owner of the home had attempted to secure the property, but people without authorization were occasionally seen at the residence.

“Anytime you’ve got a vacant home in your neighborhood just be vigilant,” Weda said. “If you see kids around a vacant home, notify the police. And if you come across or end up in a situation like the individual who encountered the two kids with the fire going, always call the fire department or police department, even if you think you’ve got the fire put out. Let us go out and verify because that thing can smolder and take off.