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Archive for Friday, August 19, 1994

9-YEAR-OLD SPARKS FIRE IN DUPLEX

August 19, 1994

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An arson fire caused $10,000 damage Thursday to a duplex at 3631 Brush Creek Dr., authorities said today.

A 9-year-old boy was placed in state custody Thursday after he set off a blaze in a southwest Lawrence duplex while playing with fire.

Lawrence police reported that the boy was playing in the garage of a neighbor's duplex apartment at 3631 Brush Creek Dr., when he threw a lighted firecracker or a match into a gasoline can about 5:45 p.m.

The fuel burst into flames, causing a fire that resulted in $10,000 damage.

Police Sgt. Rick Nickell said a 10-year-old boy who lived at the duplex and was playing with the other boy ran into the apartment and told his 18-year-old sister the garage was on fire.

The boy and his sister both escaped, unharmed.

Officers who responded to the fire found the 9-year-old boy at his home, near the scene of the fire, with his mother and stepfather. Nickell said the boy ran home after the fire broke out.

Investigators classified the fire as an aggravated arson because it was started intentionally in an occupied structure. However, Nickell said, investigators did not believe the boy intended to harm anyone.

Police brought the boy to the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center, 111 E. 11th, where he was placed in state custody. State juvenile intake workers removed the boy from his home and made arrangements for him to live with another family member.

Shelley White, Douglas County assistant district attorney, said the boy could not be prosecuted. Under state law, she said, children younger than 10 cannot be prosecuted as juvenile offenders.

Lawrence firefighters were called at 5:48 p.m. and arrived two minutes later. The first crews on the scene reported seeing flames and heavy smoke that appeared to be spreading from the garage into the living area of the duplex.

Firefighters declared the blaze under control at 6:04 p.m.

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