Teen denies arson charge

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SANDPOINT — A Sandpoint teen implicated in the torching of an outbuilding at Great Northern Park is maintaining his innocence, court records indicate.

Austin Frank-Allen Smith is charged with second-degree arson. A denial of the charge was filed in Bonner County Juvenile Court on April 25.

The denial clears the way for an adjudicatory hearing on May 30, which will serve as a trial in the case.

The outbuilding, which provided equipment storage and shelter for portable toilets went up in flames on the night of April 15. There initially were no suspects in the fire, which also consumed evidence of the crime.

Smith, 13, fell under suspicion after he was reportedly overheard bragging that he was behind the fire. Smith steadfastly denied the allegation, but later admitted that he was present and that his lighter was used to start the fire. Smith, however, denied being the one who actually set the fire.

Three other teens, a boy and two girls, have also been implicated in the fire, according to Sandpoint Police. Their cases in juvenile court are filed under seal, however.

Hand sanitizer and toilet paper was allegedly used to start the fire, according to court documents.

The fire destroyed an estimated $5,480 in equipment and the $18,000 outbuilding. The parents of the juveniles who are convicted could ultimately be made to pay restitution in the case, court records indicate.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at kkinnaird@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.

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