Police have arrested two 12-year-old boys, who allegedly started a fire outside Garland Middle School Thursday night. The blaze burned several bushes and caused damage to the exterior of the school.
Garland Police Chief Chad Soffe said investigators believe the two boys were playing with matches.
“It seems like they had just lit a small fire in the bushes,” explained Soffe. “The bushes had a lot of dried needles inside the middle, and when they added some paper and stuff, it just got out of control and started up really quick.”
The Garland Police Department posted security camera footage on their Facebook page. The video showed one of the alleged suspects, running from the corner of the building as smoke and flames rush up from the bushes. The video lasts only 38-seconds and ends when the camera is incinerated by the fire.
The blaze was reported by a neighbor. The Garland Fire Department were conducting training drills at the time and were able to quickly arrive at the scene. They were able to extinguish the blaze before it spread into the roof.
Even though the fire was contained to just a small corner of the outside of the building, some of the support beams under the fascia were burned. School officials estimate it caused a minimum of $150,000 in damages.
Soffe said the incident is a reminder to not play with fire, especially during hot summer months.
“Playing with fire can be very, extremely dangerous and in this case it’s very costly because of the damage that was done to the school. So we are just reminding parents to please control your kids as much as you can and remind them, playing with fire can get out of control sometimes.”
Both boys are cooperating with investigators, admitting that they were playing with a lighter. Their names are not being released.