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Police: Juveniles confess to starting trailer fire

by Andrew Moser

June 15, 2011

Oxford firefighters and Oakland County Sheriff’s deputies examine the remains of a burned-out mobile home on Laurel Leah. Photo by Andrew Moser.
Juvenile mischief appears to be the cause of a Friday afternoon trailer fire in Lake Villa Mobile Home Park.

The Oxford Fire Department, along with Oakland County Sheriff's, received a call around 1:23 p.m. reporting a mobile home was on fire on Laurel Leah.

According to Oxford Fire Chief Pete Scholz, firefighters were able to put out the fire, which started in a empty shed behind the mobile home and spread to the back of the residence. However, they had to wait nearly three hours to completely extinguish the flames as the Detroit Edison and gas meters caught on fire.

"The trailer was out within 15 minutes, and then it was just waiting for the utilities to come in so we could extinguish that part of it," Scholz said.

The mobile home is deemed as a total loss due to about $30,000 worth of fire and smoke damage.

The fire also caused siding to melt off of two neighboring mobile homes.

When the investigation concluded, it was determined two 12-year-olds, from Oxford, allegedly caused the fire after playing with a lighter in the shed.

"It sounds like what they were doing was setting fires to some sheds and it got away from them and they burned an empty one down," said Oakland County Sheriff's Sgt. Scott Patterson.

Patterson said it looked like the juveniles left the shed thinking the fire was extinguished.

The gas and electrical line caught on fire when the fire did not go out.

"It caught on fire to the point that the actual gas line was burning underneath the ground," Patterson said. "I could see it and Chief Scholz pointed it out to me."

The investigation might not have ended so quick if it wasn't for the help of some quick thinking neighbors.

According to Scholz, neighbors told him and the sheriff's department they witnessed the two juveniles going into the shed and leaving before the fire started.

"They (deputies) were able to do some investigating and they were able to arrest the kids right there," Scholz said.

The juveniles confessed after deputies spoke with their parents.

According to Patterson, no charges have been filed yet, but petitions are being sent to the prosecutors office for determination.