14-year-old arrested following Ga. Walmart fire

The girl admitted to intentionally setting the blaze in the paper goods aisle, Peachtree police said


Tanasia Kenney
The Charlotte Observer

PEACHTREE, Ga. — A 14-year-old girl has been charged with first-degree arson following a massive fire that tore through an Atlanta-area Walmart, according to Peachtree City police.

The teen admitted to intentionally setting the blaze in the paper goods aisle of the store on Highway 54 last Wednesday, Aug. 24, police said in a news release. Officers secured a search warrant for her home on Aug. 30, where she was arrested.

“There was no motive behind setting the fire as it was stated to be an impulsive decision that was not planned,” police said.

The blaze broke out around 7 p.m., sending heavy black smoke billowing into the air, according to photos and videos posted online. Crews initially tried fighting the flames from inside the store before part of the roof caved in, forcing firefighters outside to get the fire under control, Fire Chief Wilbur Harbin told news outlets.

Three police officers who responded to the scene were sent to the hospital for smoke inhalation, McClatchy News reported.

“They were transported to Fayette Piedmont Hospital, where they were treated and discharged later that evening,” Peachtree City Assistant Chief of Police Matt Myers said in a statement. No other injuries were reported.

Witness accounts along with video evidence helped lead authorities to the 14-year-old, according to the release. Police haven’t released her identity, and it’s unclear if more severe charges are possible.

The Walmart remains closed “until further notice” with no timeline on when it could reopen.

Peachtree City is about 30 miles southwest of downtown Atlanta.

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©2022 The Charlotte Observer

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