14-Year-Old Massachusetts Teen is Convicted of Setting Nine Nine-Alarm Fire at Holyoke Paper Mill

In Holyoke, a 14-year-old boy was convicted of starting the 9-alarm fire that burned down the Parsons Paper Mill building earlier this summer. The teenager will be placed in state care until he turns 18. This is the maximum sentence allowed for juveniles in Massachusetts.

According to Holyoke Fire Chief David LaFond, the boy went into the closed paper mill and used cardboard and paper he found there to ignite a fire. It took over 100 firefighters from 19 departments to put out the flames. The Parsons Paper Co. is a 313,000 square foot building that encompassed two city blocks.

According to the Uniform Crime Reporting Program, arson is the malicious and intentional act of burning or trying to burn a home, motor vehicle, public building, airplane, or personal property belonging to someone else.

2004 US Juvenile Arson Statistics say that since 1994:

• Half of all of the suspects arrested for arson were juveniles • 6-8% of juveniles arrested for arson were under 10 years of age.
• According to the National Fire Protection Association’s “Children Playing with Fire,” there were 41,900 reported child experimentation fires.

Reasons experts give for why juveniles start fires include curiosity, entertainment, and to intimidate others.

Arson is considered a very serious crime, and Massachusetts prosecutors will aggressively pursue anyone that is charged with illegally setting a fire that destroys or damages property or vegetation.
Juvenile convicted of starting huge Holyoke fire, BostonHerald.com, August 29, 2008
Investigators say massive Holyoke fire was deliberately set, MassLive.com, June 29, 2008
Juvenile Fire Setting: The Preventable Arson, Iowa Dept of Public Safety

Related Web Resources:
Arson, FBI
If you have been arrested for arson or any other crime, you need to speak with a Boston criminal defense lawyer that will know how to defend you against all charges. Contact Altman & Altman LLP and ask to speak with one of our Boston juvenile crimes lawyers.

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