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Charges Pending for Juveniles Who Sparked Playground Blaze

Three juveniles from Saddle Brook have admitted to starting the fire that consumed the Brookdale Park playground on Monday.

Three juveniles from Saddle Brook have come forward to take responsibility for accidentally starting the  on Monday, said.

Sgt. Richard Schultz said charges will be filed soon against at least two of the juveniles who were playing with matches in the playground Monday morning and inadvertently sparked the blaze. He said they would be charged as juveniles, likely with some form of criminal mischief, because they had not intended to burn down the playground.

Schultz said the juveniles had been striking matches and throwing them down on the ground when the situation got out of control.

"They did try to put [out the fire]," he said, "but between the wind and the material, they lost control of it and they panicked."

The juveniles fled the scene after the fire spread and called police later on to report it, Schultz said. At that point, however, the police phone banks were already ringing off the hook with reports of the playground conflagration.

Later in the day, Schultz said one of the juveniles came forward to explain the situation and take responsibility for the group. 

The Parks Department has since cordoned off the playground and assistant borough manager Jim Van Kruiningen said it will remain closed indefinitely.

Curly Howard April 15, 2012 at 06:20 AM
they should be charged with arson i mean come on do you know how many kids actually played on that thing? because whenever i passed by there that playground was always being used, but to be honest i have a friend who was set up for lighting a fire meanwhile he was about 50 miles away from the scene his ex girlfriend started a pair of sneakers on fire and told the police it was my friend who did it and now he has a charge of felony arson on his record because of his ex girlfriend and that happened when he was only 17 i mean come on if a pair of sneakers set on fire can make a good kid who was no where near the place get charged with arson how come causing a damn inferno on a playground where a lot of kids play on doesn't get that charge i think that is wrong
R M April 16, 2012 at 03:31 AM
Curly, your friend needed a better attorney.....that story has nothing to do with this....because your friend was charged with arson everyone should be...there are all different levels of charges and each prosecutor and police department handle each situation independently....thank God for that....the boys took responsibility and told the truth....have faith in the Fairlawn police department they will do the right thing don't forget they are the only ones who know the whole story and are in the position to file what and whatever charges they determine are appropriate...it is not the publics job to determine how these boys should be charged...everyone should be concerned with the materials that were used to build the park....this was an accident with lessons to be learned for all....keep in mind no one was in the park and no one was hurt....so this is not a tragedy....just an accident ,a childish mistake and a bad judgement call by young boys...everyone take a moment and think back to a time where you did something stupid and then throw stones....this is not arson it was boys doing something stupid at the worse time ever...(extremely dry season)....less not drag this out....the park should be rebuilt right away with the insurance money and we should just let the police department do their job....at least this is how I feel being a tax payer............
Curly Howard April 16, 2012 at 05:35 AM
RM, I was just telling that story because it's remarkable that someone can be charged with arson by lighting shoes on fire but not by lighting a whole damn playground on fire. Second of all those kids are 12 yes old their parents shouldn't leave them home alone because from what I have heard the parents weren't around. And last but not least those kids didn't come up and confess their friend called and told the cops what happened not the kids who lit the park on fire because those kids ran and weren't going to tell anyone at all. And by the way I believe that the parents should pay for a new playground set not the tax payers or any other insurance company besides the parents of those kids
FLparent April 18, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Of course we are glad nobody was hurt. And yes, park items can be replaced...however, they are not going to be! That is where the frustration and disappointment lies!!
Eileen May 01, 2012 at 02:46 PM
I'm a little late on this but......First of all 12 year olds should not be roaming the streets especially in another town....I'm from saddle brook and delt with losers like that destroying my property and am so glad for the curfew.....Yes, the kids did try to call for help BUT they should have community service hours and some kind of punishment. Their parents SHOULD pay for damage. Set an example that when you let your children roam the streets and their parents probably didn't even know where they were, that they should pay the price for their kids too.

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