Springfield Teens Face Arson And Other Charges Over Rash Of Fires In City Neighborhood
Eight Springfield teenagers were arraigned this afternoon [Wednesday] on arson and other charges in connection with a series of recent fires in a city neighborhood. Springfield Police say the teens, ranging in age from 15 to 17, were arrested early Wednesday after responding to reports of a group of 8 to 10 males breaking into cars in the city's Forest Park neighborhood late Tuesday. Police then noticed a fire on the second floor of a vacant home. Authorities say another fire was set outside the Springfield Elks Lodge. Police say they were able to get descriptions from witnesses before the suspects fled. Police said one of the teens was found shortly afterwards, appearing abnormally dirty, sweating profusely and smelling strongly of smoke. Five other males were picked up by police in neighboring Longmeadow after they were seen running across a golf course bordering the two communities. Two other suspects were later apprehended by state and local police. Authorities are investigating whether the suspects were involved in eight other fires set in the same area over the last week. Officials say there were no injuries and little damage thanks to quick response from firefighters. But Mayor Domenic Sarno, who was at the arraignment with the Fire and Police Commissioners, says, given the recent arson fires in Springfield and Northampton -- that claimed lives -- the suspects, despite their ages, should be punished to fullest extent of the law.
“God forbid somebody...was injured, somebody was killed. That's where my feelings are. And they terrorized Springfield neighborhoods and that's not something that I'm going to tolerate, nor Springfield police department nor the fire department. You have to be responsible for your actions, I don't care how old you are period.”
The suspects, who have pled not guilty, are being held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing on Monday.