September 17, 2014

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11-year-olds taken to Detention Home, allegedly caused $30,000 damage to Vermilion school playground

A fire at the playground at Vermilion Elementary School yesterday afternoon is seen from a street away. (Photo courtesy of Cathy Siegfried.)

A fire at the playground at Vermilion Elementary School yesterday afternoon is seen from a street away. (Photo courtesy of Cathy Siegfried.)

VERMILION — Two 11-year-old boys were arrested after they allegedly started a fire that caused about $30,000 in damage to the playground at Vermilion Elementary School yesterday.

According to a police report, officers were called about 3:15 p.m. Monday to the school, which was formerly Vermilion Middle School, on South Decatur Street.

Police were told that three juveniles were seen running from the scene and found a lighter, lighter fluid and a pack of cigarettes under a slide at the preschool playground.

Cpl. Dan Shupe wrote in his report that he arrived to find two boys and a girl watching the fire and recognized them because he is the school resource officer.

When questioned, the girl told Shupe she was with the two boys, and they were setting off smoke bombs at the playground, the report said. She said she didn’t know what happened but turned around and the playground was on fire.

She said one of the boys tried to put it out with his shoe but wasn’t able, so they ran and called 911.

One of the boys told Shupe the other boy had stolen the lighter fluid from Drug Mart, according to the report.

Both boys were charged with arson and taken to the Erie County Detention Home.


  • Pablo Jones

    Let me guess the playground had rubber chips instead of mulch. Schools and parks pay extra for it because they think it will save money in the long run. Well congratulations now there is no playground.

    • Rebecca Montgomery-Deaton

      So it’s the school’s fault because they bought better quality mulch?

      • Pablo Jones

        A better quality mulch? Better at burning. It’s not the schools fault for setting the fire, but it is their fault for using a product that burns so easily. Look at all the stories of playground fires they all include the rubber mulch. It is a fire hazard that completely destroys the playground when on fire. The only reason people think it’s better is because it doesn’t break down and they think they won’t have to keep replacing it like wood mulch. But it still gets kicked around and into the grass. But I’m sure the kids appreciate the fact that they won’t have any playground equipment all summer.

        • dblgr0069

          I disagree. I live in Vermilion and my daughter went to VES and used that playground. Having the rubber chips were softer on them if they fell and the rubber chips was some what of a cushion. The chips helped with the bug issue and the weeds. Having mulch would have caught on fire also and if we would have been in a dry season it would have been worse if their was mulch down. They have the chips on the playground behind the school also and let me tell you when you see your 4 year old fall from a climbing wall and land in the chips and get back up with no “boo boo”s you are glad that they are there instead of the mulch and sharp pieces. The only downfall I see in the chips is that they do get a little hot in the sun but obviously kids should wear their shoes.

          • Pablo Jones

            They were softer? How do you know. Mulch absorbs water. It does not burn and unless the kids fall from a high height they don’t get hurt.

    • http://www.facebook.com/redpita Rita Torres

      If it was Lorain, they would just take down the basketball hoops, because everyone knows that basketball leads to arson, right?

    • Melissa Merrill Snyder

      The school buys something to better protect the children. Because 3 juveniles decided to act as delinquents and start a fire, there is no playground. Not the schools fault…blame the kids that set the fire and their parents.

  • Angie

    I believe the schools also buy rubber instead of wood chips because it reduces the risk of injury when falling and just playing around near it. Wood chips can cause splinters, cuts, get stuck in a childs body if they fall onto it, poke an eye out, etc. What is rubber chips gonna do besides cushion the fall for kids? NOT the schools fault. Maybe if the kid’s parents were more aware that their children were in the making of becoming a criminal, this whole situation could have been avoided. I mean, what the heck was an 11 yr old doing with any of that stuff? ESPECIALLY cigarettes. Bet they got those smokes from one of their parents.

    • sandycheeks

      What stuff did they have? Is there another article that I’m not seeing? The one I read gave no details at all, rather poor reporting.

    • Pablo Jones

      How many injuries are caused by wood mulch? How many have you heard of? Now how many playgrounds have been lost to fire because of rubber mulch, several. I’m not saying the kids aren’t at fault, but using rubber mulch is the equivalent of leaving gasoline cans around the playground.

  • hottamomma

    was that william and lawrence vactor????

  • TheDon Corleone

    Absolutely normal for 11 year olds, we all went through that phase.

  • Nancy Willis

    Seems to me that there were 3 children involved in starting this fire. Why was the girl not charged with anything?

  • Connor Fields

    A girl was there cause i live in Vermilion, and she got off at the police station and the boys got charged $15,000 for each parent