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Valparaiso High School remodeling

Valparaiso High School construction will change the school's exterior as well as interior.

VALPARAISO — Police say a 16-year-old boy has confessed to starting both garbage can fires Wednesday morning at Valparaiso High School.

The boy, whose identity is not being released because he is a juvenile, faces charges of felony arson and criminal mischief.

He is being held at the Porter County Juvenile Detention Center, according to Valparaiso police.

Investigators were led to the boy after School Resource Officer Lt. Ed Blakley spotted him in a video in the general area of one of the restrooms just prior to one of the fires being discovered by a teacher, police said.

The boy was identified and during an interview with police reportedly admitted to starting both fires.

The first fire was discovered around 8:30 a.m. in a lower level bathroom at the school at 2727 N. Campbell St., said Valparaiso Police Sgt. Mike Grennes.

A teacher noticed and extinguished the fire early enough that it caused no damage, he said.

The second fire was noticed around 10 a.m. in another bathroom on the main floor of the school, Grennes said. The damage was contained to the plastic garbage can. The fire resulted in the temporary evacuation of students and staff.

The school system and Police Department released a shared statement Thursday morning outlining safety efforts underway.

"We feel it is important for everyone to feel confident in the important relationship between the Valparaiso Community Schools and the Valparaiso Police Department," according to the letter.

Gallery: Recent arrests booked into Porter County Jail


Porter/LaPorte county reporter

Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.