Ferndale, PA – Three 14-year-old girls and a 12-year-old girl have been charged with setting a house fire that sent a police officer and a firefighter to the hospital and cost tens of thousands of dollars in damage.
Ferndale Borough Police Chief John Blake said the incident occurred on April 3 when the four girls started a fire inside an unoccupied duplex in Cambria County, the Associated Press reported.
Chief Blake said the girls started the fire using Lysol and bug spray.
“They placed a shoebox on the couch and threw lit pieces of paper into the box that had been sprayed with accelerant,” the police chief said.
The fire destroyed the home, forced an evacuation of and caused damage to the homes on either side of it, and damaged cars that were parked nearby, WTAJ reported.
An Upper Yoder Township police officer was taken to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation, the Associated Press reported.
A firefighter from Upper Yoder Township was treated for an unspecified medical issue as well.
Both first responders later released from the hospital, the Associated Press reported.
Police tracked down the juvenile arsonists on social media after they posted a Snapchat video of themselves starting the fire.
Investigators then found pictures of the girls at the scene when they returned to watch firefighters put out their handiwork, the Associated Press reported.
Once they were caught, the girls told the police they had started the fire because “they were bored,” according to Chief Blake.
All four girls were arrested and charged with felony arson, causing catastrophe, trespassing, and endangering another person, the Associated Press reported.
“I’m just thankful the injuries weren’t more severe, or these girls could be facing homicide charges,” Chief Blake said.
The alleged arsonists were released to the custody of their parents, according to the Associated Press.
They will appear in Cambia County Juvenile Court to have their cases heard.
Chief Blake said investigators were also exploring the possibility that the four girls had started another fire earlier that same day in a nearby home, the Associated Press reported.
He said the arsonists broke into that house and set a mattress on fire.