August 28, 2014

Elyria
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63°F
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13-year-old girl charged with setting Lake Avenue fire

ELYRIA — A 13-year-old girl is accused of starting Monday night’s fire at 816 Lake Ave.

The girl was certified to Juvenile Court on Tuesday for aggravated arson and felonious assault, according to a police press release.

Elyria police Lt. Andy Eichenlaub said the girl admitted during a police interview to starting the fire. No motive was released.

Elyria Fire Chief Richard Benton said the second floor and attic of the home were damaged by the fire, while the rest of the home was damaged by heat and smoke.

The fire caused an estimated $40,000 in damage to the property and $10,000 in damage to the contents, he said.

Robert Beam, boyfriend of Barbara Henderson, the home’s resident, said the girl accused was a friend of Henderson’s daughter.

Henderson lived at the home with her five children, who are 13, 10, 12, 7 and 4. The Red Cross has provided them with a hotel for a few days, Beam said.

Matthew Murray, 21, a friend of Henderson and Beam, was being treated at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland for a burn to his esophagus and smoke inhalation following the fire, Beam said.

Murray was listed in good condition Wednesday.

Beam stopped by The Chronicle-Telegram office Wednesday afternoon to ask for a copy of photos of his dog, Drakos, a pit bull/bulldog mix, because Drakos died Tuesday morning and all the pictures of him had been lost in the fire.

Beam accompanied firefighters inside the home after the fire was out to bring out his dog, and together they gave Drakos oxygen. Beam said he rushed the dog to the vet afterward and spent $1,000 to treat him, but it was in vain.

“He breathed in so much smoke that he had burns in his lungs,” Beam said. He said he planned on adding the phrase “R.I.P.” to a previous tattoo on his arm of the dog.

The fire also killed a 7-week old puppy and a cat.

Contact Kiera Manion-Fischer at 329-7123 or kfischer@chroniclet.com.