A state fire marshal’s investigator has ruled the 23 Newton St. fire was an arson.
“The state fire marshal office is only doing that portion of the investigation … and has turned that (information) to the police department so they can finish the investigation,” spokesman Shane Cartmill said. “So our investigation is basically done.”
Norwalk Police Chief Kevin Cashen has called the Sept. 21 incident “a suspicious fire,” saying two 10-year-old Norwalk girls set it. He had hoped to have the case closed by the end of the week, but was unavailable for further comment.
Once detectives complete their investigation, they are expected to forward a report to Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler’s office for the consideration of charges. Leffler was unavailable for comment.
Cashen said he hoped the judicial system would get the girls the counseling “help they need so this won’t happen again.” As of Wednesday, he didn’t know if the girls would be charged because of their age.
The girl accused of starting the fire lives in the same Newton Street apartment complex where the Sept. 21 fire occurred. The other girl is a Baker Street resident.
The Baker Street girl’s mother said her daughter told her the other girl “found a blue lighter and started a fire.” The woman also said her daughter didn’t tell her they started the fire until after an interview with detectives.
“They had reports they saw two little girls ... running out of the building. Shortly after that, the fire started,” the woman said.
The daughter, right after the Sept. 21 fire, said she and her friend rode their bicycles directly to her Baker Street home after the blaze started. The fire, contained to one unit, caused about $20,000 worth of damage. There were no injuries.
The Baker Street mother also has said she believes her daughter didn’t start the fire because she made mannerisms associated with lying when she alerted her parents about the fire.
“She’s never ever done anything like this,” the mother said, saying her daughter recently befriended the other girl.
The Baker Street girl is grounded until further notice, but is still attending school. She isn’t allowed to go to any friend’s houses without both parents meeting each other.
Attempts to reach the Newton Street girl and her parents were unsuccessful this week.