12-year-old Abbeville boy being questioned for allegedly starting three fires
A 12-year-old Abbeville boy allegedly confessed to starting a fire that burned his own home on Wednesday.
A 12-year-old boy remains in a medical facility under going mental evaluation after he admitted to setting a mobile home on fire Wednesday morning in Abbeville.
A baby sitter was watching him in his own home.
The boy is also being investigated for setting two other house fires this year.
The good news is that the three arsons the juvenile is being investigated for, no one died or was injured.
The Abbeville Police Department did not release the name of the juvenile.
The Abbeville Fire Department responded to a mobile home fire on East Lafayette Street Wednesday morning. The mobile home fire was about 100 yards south from the Abbeville Police Station. Three Abbeville detectives walked to the fire and learned a juvenile and his babysitter were in the mobile home and escaped without injuries.
The detectives recognized the juvenile as someone who was arrested for recent arsons in the city.
One of those alleged arsons took place not too far from the mobile home fire. In June, the 12-year-old was sleeping at a friend’s home on Louisiana Street. When the fire on Louisiana Street began, there were six people in the house, counting the 12 year old.
Everyone managed to escape without injuries. On Wednesday, the detectives began questioning people, including the baby sitter of the boy.
The State Fire Marshall Investigator was called to the scene and determined the fire to be an arson.
During the interview process, the juvenile admitted to lighting an object and throwing it inside a room of the mobile home, the police reported.
According to the FBI, juvenile firesetters accounted for roughly half (at least 49%) or more of those arrested for arson -- for the ninth straight year.
In 2003, 51% of those arrested were under 18, nearly one-third were under the age of 15, and 3% were under the age of 10.
Juvenile arson and youth-set fires result in over 300 deaths and 2,000 injuries annually, and $300 million in property damage and more than 400,000 incidents annually.
Juveniles who are involved in significant fires resulting in property loss, personal injury, or death can be arrested for the crime of arson. Several factors are taken into consideration for determining criminal intent, including the firesetter’s age, the nature and extent of the individual’s firesetting history, and the motive and intent behind the firesetting.
Characteristics of Firesetters
Juvenile firesetters fall into three general groups:
• The first is made up of children, mainly boys, under 7 years of age. Generally, fires started by these children are the result of accidents or curiosity.
• In the second group of firesetters are children ranging in age from 8 to 12. Although the firesetting of some of these children is motivated by curiosity or experimentation, a greater proportion of their firesetting represents underlying psychosocial conflicts. They will continue to set fires until their issues are addressed and their needs are met.
• The third group comprises adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18. These youth tend to have a long history of undetected fire-play and firestarting behavior. Their current firesetting episodes are usually either the result of psychosocial conflict and turmoil or intentional criminal behavior. They have a history of school failure and behavior problems, and are easily influenced by their peers.
Children who set fires may have one or more of these characteristics:
• Curiosity with fire
• Lack of understanding fire’s danger
• Recent change in family life (death, separation, divorce, move, abandonment)
• Parental alcoholism or drug abuse
• Attachment problems
• History of behavioral problems (such as lying, stealing, truancy, bullying, cruelty to animals, and substance use)
• Poor peer relationships and/or social isolation; being bullied
• History of physical, emotional or sexual abuse and/or neglect
• Blaming others and/or unwilling to accept responsibility for one’s own actions
• Lack of empathy