No Charges for 10-Year-Old Fire Starter

No Charges for 10-Year-Old Fire Starter

13 November 2007

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Los Angeles, USA — A 10-year-old boy who admitted starting a 38,000-acrefire last month that destroyed 21 homes in northern Los Angeles County will notbe charged, prosecutors said Tuesday.

There was no evidence of intent by the boy who accidentally ignited brushoutside his home by playing with matches, the Los Angeles County DistrictAttorney’s Office said in a statement.

Authorities are referring the case to the Department of Children and FamilyServices to determine if further steps are necessary. No other information aboutthe investigation was released because the case involves a minor.

The blaze was among more than a dozen major wildfires that blackened over 800square miles from Los Angeles to the Mexican border. In all, 10 people werekilled directly by the wildfires.

About a week after the fires were ignited, sheriff’s department officialsannounced that they had interviewed the boy, who lived with his family in atrailer home on a ranch in Santa Clarita, and that he acknowledged starting theblaze.

Officials presented the case to the district attorney’s office, but lawexperts had said prosecutors would have trouble getting a conviction against theboy because it would be difficult to prove intent to cause harm.

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