State fire marshals have charged a 9-year-old Mount Airy boy in connection with an apartment fire, authorities said yesterday.
The boy, who was not identified, was referred to the Department of Juvenile Services and then released to his parents, said W. Faron Taylor, deputy state fire marshal. The boy faces charges of first-degree arson and malicious burning.
The fire occurred Friday afternoon when the boy entered an apartment on Watersville Road in Mount Airy using a hidden key, authorities said. The apartment's occupants were on vacation. The boy then set fire to bedding and clothing in a bedroom, Taylor said.
Firefighters from Mount Airy Volunteer Fire Department and other area companies quickly put out the smoldering fire. Damage was estimated at $500, Taylor said.
The 21-unit apartment building was briefly evacuated, Taylor said.
A representative of the Department of Juvenile Services said they could not give out any information on a juvenile case.
Taylor said the boy could be charged under Maryland law, which sets the minimum age for criminal conduct at 7 years.