By BRIAN WALKER
Hagadone News Network
POST FALLS — Disaster during extreme fire conditions was averted when multiple alleged arson starts in a wooded area were extinguished and a 15-year-old boy was arrested Monday night.
The Post Falls boy remained at the Juvenile Detention Center on Tuesday after being charged with third-degree arson and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
"(Responders) were able to follow the fires to the suspect, who admitted to lighting them," Post Falls Police Capt. Greg McLean said. "This could have been a really bad situation."
McLean said the boy, who was on probation, has a history of lighting fires.
The first fire was reported at 9:18 p.m. in the area of Fourth Avenue and Seltice Way on property owned by Idaho Veneer. More fires were then reported east of there in the area of Greensferry Road and Seltice just north of the Greensferry apartments owned by Plummer Forest Products.
"As officers arrived in the area of Greensferry, they observed several other fires to the east in the wooded area where there is a trail that leads from Greensferry to Potlatch Road," a Post Falls Police report states. "The first couple of fires were small and contained by officers with fire extinguishers, but as the fire zone moved east the fires became much larger and harder to contain."
Kootenai County Fire and Rescue responded and completely extinguished all the fires. Several trees were damaged, but no structures were damaged.
A Kootenai County Sheriff's Office sergeant located the suspect in the area of Ross Point Road just east of the fires.
The suspect originally denied having anything to light fires, but later admitted he had a lighter in his pocket, according to police. Eventually, the boy also admitted to starting the fires in dried brush in five different locations while walking from the library to home.
A relative of the suspect told police the boy has a history of lighting items and himself on fire.