Two juveniles arrested for arson fire at vacant school

Wednesday, May 4, 2011 - 8:55am

Two juveniles, who should have been in school, were caught setting fire to a vacant school Tuesday.  It happened in Shreveport's Allendale neighborhood just before 11 a.m.

It took nine fire trucks to get the basement fire under control at George P. Hendrix Elementary School.  Firefighters say they found the heavy smoke coming from the basement area.  They saw a desk, trash and books on fire in the basement, said Fred Sanders, Assistant to the Fire Chief.  Old furniture was also on fire at the school that has been vacant for almost ten years.

"You have to have heat to have a fire and since there are no utilities to this building, then it's going to take some extra heat source to cause that fire," said Sanders.

Fire officials say the fire seemed suspicious since, earlier that morning, police were looking for juveniles in the area for entering the abandoned school.

An hour before the fire broke out, someone saw two teens around the school.  When officers arrived, the teens led them on a foot chase, but officers were not able to take them into custody.  Then, around 1 p.m., the teens were spotted again by the same concerned citizen who called in the initial report. 

The teenagers were seen entering a store a few blocks away from the school.  The boys, 16 and 14, tried to run, but police caught them after another short foot chase.

They are charged with unauthorized entry into the school and will likely face more charges for arson.

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