Two 13-year-olds charged with arson in connection to Juneau playground fire

Juneau's Twin Lakes Park declared "fully engaged" on Monday evening. Photo...
Juneau's Twin Lakes Park declared "fully engaged" on Monday evening. Photo from Capital City Fire and Rescue. (KTUU)
Published: Apr. 25, 2017 at 11:52 AM AKDT
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Two 13-year-old boys face charges in connection to a fire that burned down a playground located at Juneau's Twin Lakes Park on Monday.

The boys are charged with second degree arson and first degree criminal mischief.

Erann Kalwara with Juneau Police said that the first 911 call came in at 5:42 p.m. and officers were on the scene just a minute later at 5:43. Kalwara said seven police officers responded. Upwards of 25 staff and volunteers with Capital City Fire and Rescue assisted in fighting the blaze.

Dan Jager, a fire marshal with CCFR, said that the fire was determined to be "under control" after roughly 45 minutes, however it wasn't declared "extinguished" until around 11 p.m. owing to the fact that the playground utilized a rubber fill to pad the ground.

"It kept smoldering for a long time," Jager said. "It was a similar issue that was seen in Anchorage several years ago. The rubber mulch becomes like a rubber tire fire."

Juneau Police Department issued a statement Tuesday identifying the ages and genders of the two teens they interviewed and later charged during the investigation. Their identities have not been released because they are minors.

Jager said that it was a team effort in identifying the two boys. He said witnesses at the scene who saw two young boys nearby gave descriptions of their appearance and their clothing, which was then used to search for them. Jager said the two later confessed during questioning.

Police said that the method the boys reportedly used to start the blaze, or if any accelerants were used to assist in its spread, is not being released at this time. Kalwara said this is owing to the fact that both are minors and the investigation is ongoing. She did however note that it was "an intentional event."

Sergeant Chris Gifford said in a statement that the two boys were later lodged at the Johnson Youth Center in Juneau.