Three Youths Charged In School Fire

November 24, 1991|By Samuel Goldreich | Samuel Goldreich,Staff writer

Three county juveniles were arrested Thursday on charges of setting a fire that destroyed the band room and rhythm instruments at Edgewood Middle School.

A 16-year-old Anne Arundel County boy -- a cousinof one of the three Edgewood youths -- was also expected to be arrested, Bob Thomas, a spokesman for the State Fire Marshal, said Friday.

The fire in the band room Nov. 16 caused $30,000 damage, destroying school-owned instruments including a piano, a set of kettle drums,snare drums, a bass drum and a tuba.

"The room was gutted," with fire damage to the walls, ceiling and roof, Thomas said. Smoke also caused damage throughout the school.

The three Edgewood youths werereleased to their parents, and the case was refered to the Department of Juvenile Services and state's attorney for prosecution.

Two of them are 13-year-old students at the middle school. The third is a 16-year-old Edgewood High School sophomore, said investigators. All were suspended for at least five days pending further investigation bycounty school superintendent Ray R. Keech.

All four youths will be charged with breaking and entering and arson, Thomas said.

Investigators from the Board of Education, fire marshal and state police had determined no motive for the fire Friday, Edgewood Middle School principal Robert L. Depuy said.

One of the middle school students took music lessons last year but had no dispute with the band program,he said.

Depuy and Edgewood High School principal Robert C. Williams agreed that the students had no history of behavior problems

and received satisfactory grades.

The fire set off an alarm about 9p.m. on a Saturday when the school was closed. About 75 firefightersresponded from the Aberdeen, Joppa-Magnolia, Abingdon, Bel Air and Aberdeen Proving Ground department and brought the blaze under controlwithin an hour.

It might have spread beyond the band room if a school pool technician working in his office had not alerted the fire department, Depuy said.

Band practice for the school's winter concert Dec. 10 and 11 will not be interrupted by the fire. Depuy said theschool would borrow instruments from other schools.

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