Prosecutors mull charges in Newton Street apartment fire

Cary Ashby • Oct 29, 2015 at 11:57 AM

Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler said his office is considering charges against one of the 10-year-old girls responsible for last month’s fire on Newton Street.

Juvenile Prosecutor Jennifer DeLand is reviewing police interviews with the two girls, Leffler said.

“I’m not sure where she’s at with that,” he said about DeLand, who was in court and unavailable for comment Friday afternoon.

One of the girls lives in the same Newton Street apartment complex where the Sept. 21 fire happened. The other girl is a Baker Street resident.

A state fire marshal’s investigator ruled the blaze an arson in late September. About that same time, detectives with the Norwalk Police Department finished their investigation and gave the case to Leffler’s office.

Chief Kevin Cashen said Friday the girls could be charged with juvenile delinquency and/or aggravated arson because the apartment complex was occupied. It’s unknown how many people were there when the fire started.

“(With the girls) being only 10, that would be up to the prosecutor,” Cashen said about possible charges.

As of late last month, the chief hoped the girls would get the “help they need” to avoid similar situations in the future.

The girls, during an interview after the fire, said they were riding their bicycles on Newton Street when they saw the blaze and rode to the one girl’s Baker Street home.

The Baker Street mother later said her daughter used a photograph to point to the exact area of an empty Newton Street apartment in which they were playing. The girl accused her friend of finding a blue lighter and starting the fire.

“They (police) had reports they saw two little girls ... running out of the building. Shortly after that, the fire started,” the mother said.

There were no injuries in the blaze that remained in one unit and caused about $20,000 worth of damage.

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