Arson suspect, 13, arrested at mother's request

2014-04-14T19:00:00Z 2014-04-14T19:54:31Z Arson suspect, 13, arrested at mother's requestStan Maddux Times Correspondent
April 14, 2014 7:00 pm  • 

A 13-year-old Michigan City boy was arrested at the request of his mother who told police he has set several fires.

The latest was a brush fire Friday afternoon spreading to a neighbor's wood pile, according to LaPorte County authorities.

Fires were set in different areas of the family's backyard and consumed about two acres before extinguished by firefighters, said Coolspring Township Volunteer Fire Department Lt. Michael Lusco.

"The parents said the boy has a problem," said Lusco, who added whether gasoline or some other fuel source was used to set the fires was still under investigation.

Firefighters responded about 2:30 p.m. Friday when the boy's 31-year-old mother was awakened by her son revealing the yard was on fire, police said.

The boy told her he was burning leaves in a fire pit when the yard caught fire and the flames fanned by gusty breezes spread to a neighbor's brush pile.

Lusco said a shed in the backyard where the boy lives was damaged in a fire. It spread down a hill with a lot of dry vegetation toward Trail Creek.

"If it would have gone down the hill further it really would have gotten out of hand," Lusco said.

The fire blackened about 2 acres and required 750 gallons of water to extinguish, Lusco said.

According to police, the boy admitted to officers about setting a fire that damaged a fort outside a friend's residence in December.

Despite the boy's claims it was an accident, investigators suspect the fire had to have been set on purpose in different areas of the yard "to cause the damage to everything that it did," police said.

Officers granted the mother's request to have her son arrested, taking him to the LaPorte County Juvenile Services Center where he was held on undisclosed charges, police said.

The boy was already on probation for truancy and incorrigibility, police said.

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