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Teens charged with arson in apartment fire

By Mehgaan Jones

mjones@news-daily.com

Arson investigators with the Clayton County Fire and Emergency Services Department have arrested two juveniles in connection with a Jonesboro fire last weekend.

According to Battalion Chief Landry Merkison, on Sept. 25, the two boys, ages 12 and 14, were playing with matches, and flicked them through an open window at the Riva Ridge Apartments clubhouse, located at 79 Flint River Road.

Investigators estimated the damage to be between $20,000 and $30,000, Merkison said. He added that there were no injuries in the fire.

"The two, juvenile boys ... were questioned by .. .investigators and admitted to setting the fire," Merkison said, in a written statement.

He said the two were charged with arson in the first degree, and were turned over to the custody of Clayton County Police.

He added that: "Education on the dangers of playing with fire is paramount. The two boys charged with this crime are very lucky that they, or anyone else, were not injured during the course of this event.

"It only takes a second for a fire to get started, and only a few more for it to be totally out of control," Merkison said.