3 to be Charged in Arson

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 - 6:19am

Three teenage boys are facing charges of arson in a March 20 fire on the near West side. Firefighters were called to the 500 block of Highland Avenue just before 5 a.m. that day when a passerby called 911 Communications Center to report the fire.

The two-story brick building was unoccupied and scheduled for demolition. It took firefighters about 45 minutes to extinguish the blaze.

No one was injured in the fire, but firefighters face tough choices in circumstances where fire has been burning for awhile before it is called in. In Chicago last December, two firefighters were killed and at least 17 were injured, when a wall and roof collapsed without warning in an abandoned building on the city's south side. The firefighters had entered the building out of concern that homeless people may have been taking refuge from the cold.

The accused arsonists, aged 14 and 15, are all students at West High School.

The charges are the culmination of work by City of Madison Fire Investigators, UW Police Officers, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and Madison Police.

  • Lori Wirth, 608-266-5947