Forest fire caused by spurned teen’s anguish

Forest fire caused by spurned teen’s anguish

6 October 2008

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Sweden — A Swedish teenager has been charged for starting afire after dropping a burning letter of unrequited love near a wooded area inGothenburg.

The 16-year-old told police he was out for a walk with his school class in the city’s Slottsskogen park when he received a letter in response to a previous overture he’d delivered to a female classmate, the Metro newspaper reports.

Upon reading the letter, the boy learned that the object of his desire didn’t share the same feelings for him as he did for her.

Heartbroken and enraged, the boy wanted to “get rid of” and “destroy” the letter as quickly as possible, he told police.

He set fire to the letter with a lighter he found in his pocket, but as the flames began to burn the tips of his fingers, the boy dropped the flaming message into a patch of dry grass, which quickly ignited.

Despite the boy’s vain attempts to extinguish it, the fire quickly spread, eventually consuming 2000 square metres of trees and bushes.

Six firefighters were eventually able to contain the blaze, which also caused the nearby children’s zoo to shut down.

A burn ban had been in place at the time due as a lack of rain had led to extremely dry conditions.

The boy expressed his regret over the incident to the court, but must nevertheless face charges of reckless endangerment of the public for his role in starting the fire.

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