Teen, 14, accused of causing brush fire

Police say teen, another student skipped school

Published On: Apr 26 2013 09:44:18 PM EDT
GREENACRES, Fla. -

A 14-year-old has been arrested after police say he caused a 15-acre brush fire.

The brush fire incident happened Thursday afternoon at Okeeheelee Community Middle School at 2200 Pinehurst Drive.

A witness at the school told police that he and the 14-year-old teen, another student at the school, skipped the last period of school Thursday around 3:15 p.m.

The witness said they both "hopped the fence" and proceeded to walk through the wooded area, which he was aware had posted "No Trespassing" signs.

As the two were sitting on a log about 20 to 25 feet from Forest Hill Boulevard, the witness saw the 14-year-old teen with a cigarette lighter, lighting melaleuca barks.

The witness said he was 5 feet away from the teen using his iPhone, as the fire increased. He told police he and the teen attempted to extinguish the fire using the surrounding sand in the area, but were unsuccessful.

As a result, police said the fire continued to increase. As the two ran away from the area, they exited the wooded lands through a double wooden fence near the northeast part of the wooded property, said police.

The teen later admitted to police that he had skipped school and entered the wooded land property north of the school by jumping the fence.

Police said the teen denied knowing anything as to how and who started the fire. The investigation into the origin and cause of the fire revealed it was intentionally set or caused by open combustible material.

According to Palm Beach County property appraiser, the damaged was estimated to be worth or exceed over $1,000.

The teen has been charged with intentional or reckless burning of lands. He was transported to the Juvenile Assessment Center.