Boy, 7, linked to string of Alaska arsons

April 9, 2012 at 12:07 AM
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JUNEAU, Alaska, April 8 (UPI) -- A 7-year-old boy has admitted setting at least five small fires in Juneau, Alaska, authorities say.

Fire Marshal Dan Jager said the boy, whose name has not been released, caused about $1,000 in damage by setting fires in bathrooms at Harborview Elementary School and the Terry Miller Legislative Building, a grass fire and two fires at a Fred Meyer store, the Juneau Empire reported.

Jager said Saturday the boy was caught on a surveillance tape and admitted to police and fire investigators he set the fires over the past four or five months with a lighter he found, but had not provided a reason for lighting them.

"He has no idea how big the fires could have gotten. He could have gotten hurt, and other people could have been hurt because some of those buildings were occupied," Jager said.

"He won't be going to jail," Fire Chief Richard Etheridge told the newspaper, saying the case would be forwarded to probation officers at the Johnson Youth Center.

The boy's grandmother, who is his legal guardian, had not been aware he was playing with fire, Jager said.

"It definitely got her attention, and I think she's going to be a big help making sure that the boy understands what he's doing," Jager said.

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