AP NEWS

Police: Teens bought lighter before setting train depot fire

February 28, 2020 GMT

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The day before starting a massive fire that caused significant damage to a historic Florida train depot and injured a firefighter, four teenagers skipped school and bought a kitchen lighter, according to a police report.

The Atlantic High School students videoed the small fire they set at the train depot last Monday, Delray Beach police said in the report. On Tuesday, they skipped school again and started a larger fire at the train depot off of Interstate 95 in Delray Beach.

The teens were arrested Tuesday and charged with burglary and arson. They were placed under house arrest during a hearing on Wednesday in West Palm Beach, the Palm Beach Post reported.

The arrest report said a 17-year-old told investigators he and another teen skipped school and returned to the train depot on Tuesday morning. They asked the other two teens to meet them there.

According to what the 17-year-old told police, one of the boys set a couch in one room on fire, then put it out. They went to a second room and lit a bag of trash on fire. Then they went to another room. When they returned to the second room, the fire had grown out of control. They tried to put it out but couldn’t, the report said.

Surveillance video showed the boys running from the depot. Police haven’t said why the teens started the fire.

One of the firefighters responding to the fire was injured by a backdraft, officials said. Delray Beach Fire Rescue officials said he suffered burns to his neck and hears. He was treated and released from the hospital.

The railroad tracks near the station were shut down for several hours, disrupting Tri-Rail service, officials said. The commuter rail-line had resumed normal operations by the afternoon.

The train depot was built in 1927 and was used until 1991. In 1986 it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, the Post reported. The city of Delray Beach bought it in 2005 and officials have discussed renovating it. Most recently, the depot has been used a storage facility for the city.