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Juveniles accused of setting rash of fires in Colorado Springs

The Colorado Connection reported that young juveniles have started three serious fires in Colorado Springs in recent weeks, resulting in all three of the juveniles' families being put out of their homes. Allegedly, all three of the homes are significantly damaged and unlivable at this time.

According to the Colorado Connection report, juveniles have started 274 fires in Colorado Springs over the past five years, resulting in more than $1 million worth of damage.

The Colorado Connection also reported that 192 children were ordered to take part in a Juvenile Fire-setter Intervention program in 2010. This number was a 25 percent increase from 2009, officials from the Colorado Springs Fire Department said. The program has counseled more than 800 children throughout the past five years.

The fire department speculated that for every reported fire set by a child, 10 unreported fires exist.

Sometimes the children accused of the fire-setting are arguably too young to know the difference between right and wrong. For example, a recent fire on Marlow Circle in Colorado Springs was set by a 4-year-old. The fire, which also burnt the house next door, was started when the child was left playing with a lighter on a mattress.

Coincidently, the Colorado Connection reported that a fire a week later on Hampton Drive also began on a mattress, this time with a 6-year-old playing with a lighter.

The fire department advises that parents keep a watchful eye on their children and discuss the hazards of fire with them.

It is also important that parents realize that they can be liable for property damage or restitution for up to $25,000 in crimes, such as arson, committed by their children. Moreover, if the property owner's homeowner's insurance does not cover damage, the parent could be liable. If your child has been accused of a crime, it is best to seek the advice of an experienced juvenile attorney for recourse.

Source: Colorado Connection, "Springs children set three fires in one week," Jaryd Wilson, 3/22/2011.

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