The Middletown Journal
MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — Three young Middletown boys — ages 9 and two 8-year-olds — have been charged with misdemeanor arson after they admitted to starting a fire Tuesday in a vacant home in the 2100 block of Hill Avenue.
The boys were pulled out of school Wednesday morning, on the first day of class, interviewed by Juvenile Detective Cris Kelly, then released to their parents, police said. They will appear in Butler County Juvenile Court on Sept. 3, according to police.
The boys may have to attend a Fire Starters Program run by the Middletown Division of Fire, according to Bob Hess, fire marshal. He said the four-day program is conducted in fire headquarters and the instruction is based on the age of the child, he said. It ranges from coloring and drawing pictures to learning about penalties, he said.
Hess said about eight to 12 youth attend the program every year, and they range from 5 to 18 years old.
Around 4 p.m. Tuesday, firefighters responded to the residence after neighbors reported seeing three juveniles riding their bikes away from the smoking home. The house, which is on the city’s demolition list, suffered heavy smoke damage, Hess said. One of the windows was blown out and the other windows and doors were boarded up Wednesday morning.
Hess said when firefighters entered the front door, the residence “lit up” with fire.
“It could have been a problem,” said Hess, who added no firefighters were injured.
Lisa Trovillo, who lives across the street from the home, said she saw several young boys throwing rocks against the house, breaking a second-floor window, on Monday night. She yelled at the boys and they left, she said.
The following day the boys returned to the home that has been vacant for at least five years, she said. After smoking a cigarette on her front porch, Trovillo said she went back inside her home, and her daughter yelled that the home across the street was on fire.
The juveniles admitted to police that they rode their bikes in the alley in the rear of the residence and hid them in the bushes. They then kicked in the back door, they told police. They damaged the inside of the home, left for a while, then returned, police said.
According to police, the boys found some candles in the basement, lit them, found some fluid in the house, possibly brake or carburetor fluid, and lit the paper on fire. They got scared and ran out of the home, police said. One of the boys told police that he took the red bottle of fluid that they used to start the fire and rode to the deadend of Roosevelt and Crawford and threw it into the wooded area. The bottle was recovered by police.
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