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11-Year-Old Hit With Felony Charges in $30K Brush Fire

Ariz. officials say 2 other children tried to stop boy from setting blaze on former golf course
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2021 7:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – Arizona is deep into its brush fire season, when the smallest spark can set off a massive blaze, officials tell WSJM. That became evident last weekend, when a fire caught hold and spread in Yavapai County, wrecking two vacant buildings and causing $30,000 in damage. Now, officials say it was arson, and they've got a suspect: an 11-year-old boy. Fire crews responded to the blaze that began Saturday northeast of Camp Verde, where a golf course once stood about 90 minutes outside of Phoenix, per ABC15. Per a statement from the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office, firefighters were able to get the fire under control in high-wind conditions, with the flames getting as close as 20 feet to an area residence.

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Witnesses reported seeing three boys in the area playing with an aerosol cans and lighter not long before the fire started, and a probe soon revealed that an 11-year-boy lit the fire on purpose, officials say. They note that the two other children tried to stop the boy from setting the fire, and that they'd tried to put it out once it had been. "We truly hope this 11-year-old learned his lesson," Sheriff David Rhodes says. "Wildland crews and firefighters put their lives on the line to protect the residents in our community. YCSO is going to holding those responsible accountable." The felony charges against the boy include arson of a structure, criminal damage, and endangerment, and he's also facing a reckless burning misdemeanor charge. (Read more brush fires stories.)

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