A massive fire that took place at an abandoned mill in Haverhill, Massachusetts is the work of four juveniles from the town who are not yet being identified by law enforcement officials. The eight-alarm fire burned down the entire mill located at 30 Stevens Street on Sunday, September 20th. The juveniles in question have been arrested by the Haverhill Police Department and are currently being charged with setting the mill ablaze. They are expected to be arraigned during a juvenile session at Lawrence District Court on Thursday.
Haverhill Police Detective Captain Robert Pistone, who is also the spokesman for the Department, has stated that two of the juveniles in question are 15 years old, one of the juveniles is 14 years old, and another juvenile involved in the fire is 16 years old. Law enforcement officials did not immediately identify the name or gender of the juveniles facing charges for the mill blaze. The Department made their announcement on Wednesday night following their investigation into the matter to determine whether it had been an accident or arson.
State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan, whose department worked with the Haverhill Police and Fire Departments, released a statement regarding the matter. He said that the arrests of the four juveniles were the result of “good, old-fashioned police work” and credited the assistance they received from the community as well in an effort to determine what took place that Monday night. The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have also been aiding in the investigation. As recently as Tuesday Deputy Fire Chief William Laliberty had said that their department was not ruling out arson as the source of the fire but that they believed the incident could have been purely accidental. No official word has been given on what lead to the ground-breaking discovery of the junior arsonists by those leading the investigation.
According to reports, the fire was started at approximately 5:00 PM on Sunday evening. The fire quickly spread through the vacant mill and destroyed the entire building. Approximately 125 firefighters responded to the eight-alarm fire in an effort to prevent the fire from spreading further and causing extended destruction. Haverhill Fire Chief Jack Parow has said that “Fighting fires in these vacant mills is extremely dangerous. Without sprinklers to control these fires, they get a huge head start and are fueled by oils that have soaked into the floor boards for decades.” The town feels lucky that the fire started by these young individuals did not spread further or cause any injuries.
Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett and his office are expected to prosecute the four individuals directly involved with the mill fire at their arraignment.
Reports have indicated that following the blaze, Haverhill officials had to have a state hazardous materials team come in to monitor the area where the fire took place. The haz mat team kept an eye on the air quality in the area as well as the water runoff that was being produced as a result of the combative efforts to suppress the flames. There were approximately 8,000-10,000 gallons of water used to fight the fire these four juveniles carelessly set on Sunday evening.
Additional quotes and information may be found at the following links: http://www.whdh.com/story/30103102/four-juveniles-arrested-for-setting-haverhill-mill-fire