Boy, 10, starts wildfire; charges pondered
A 10-year-old boy has admitted setting a costly California wildfire, leaving authorities to decide whether he should face criminal charges.
The boy, whose name has not been released, was living in a trailer at a facility for disabled children where one of his parents worked as a caretaker, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday. The boy was not in the Carousel Ranch's programs but the facility's executive director, Denise Tomey, said he "felt terrible" about having set the Buckweed fire that blackened 38,000 acres and destroyed 21 homes in Los Angeles County, the newspaper said.
"He's a child and I certainly believe that he had no malice and I absolutely believe it was accidental," Tomey said.
Fire officials said it was unlikely the boy, who admitted playing with matches and setting brush on fire Oct. 21, would be criminally charged but noted his parents could be held liable for damages. Prosecutors began reviewing the case Wednesday, said Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office. However, it was not known when they would reach a decision on how to proceed. // Copyright 2007 by United Press International