Two boys were arrested Tuesday on accusations of setting a fire at the flooded Glen Oaks Senior High School just days after a similar incident, District Six Fire Chief Joel Hancock said.
The boys, a 13-year-old and 11-year-old, were arrested around 6:30 p.m. in a fire at determined to have been deliberately set, according to the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office.
Authorities responded to a similar incident Friday night, also determined arson; however fire investigators do not believe the juveniles in custody are also responsible for the first incident, said Baton Rouge Fire Department spokesman Curt Monte. BRFD investigators assisted District Six Fire Department Tuesday night.
Two juveniles taken into custody Tuesday night by the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office are …
The two juveniles are accused of going into the shuttered school and setting fire to about five damaged computers, Hancock said Wednesday morning. Witnesses saw the boys running from the school after the fire had started, he said.
The boys have been booked into juvenile detention on counts of simple arson, criminal trespassing and unauthorized entry, Monte said.
The flames caused little damage, Hancock said. The Friday night fire at the school was also set to some old computers, he said.
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The Sheriff's Office incident report from Friday's fire indicated the people found responsible could face counts of simple burglary, simple arson and simple criminal damage to property. That investigation is ongoing and no suspects have been named.
Adonica Duggan, a spokeswoman for the schools, said the fire on Friday triggered the school’s sprinkler system and there’s concern about water and smoke damage. She said she’s still gathering details about what additional damage might have resulted from Tuesday’s fire.
Representatives of the East Baton Rouge Parish school system and Aramark, the private company that maintains school buildings, were at Glen Oaks Senior High School at 6650 Cedar Drive on Wednesday morning to assess the damage.
They congregated in the school’s L building, the only building damaged by fire Tuesday night and where the fire started and was contained Friday.
The building, which has been gutted since the August flooding, had piles of electronics, computers and furniture gathered in the center hallway. Most of it looked wet and water pooled on the floor in spots. Fire damage was not readily visible.
Fifteen of 17 buildings at the north Baton Rouge high school took on water in August. School officials are planning to reopen the school, which has been relocated across town for months, by fixing a few of the least damaged buildings and installing several temporary buildings. A more expensive permanent repair is slated to come after that.
The L building is one of the buildings expected to be repaired quickly.
Duggan said the damage from Tuesday night looks minimal and is not likely to prompt reopening delays for the high school.
“Based on our initial estimates, we don’t think there is anything that will prevent us from getting back there,” Duggan said.
Water from fire sprinklers may have damaged some flooring and ceiling tiles, but they were in areas already scheduled to be replaced, she said. And some of the computer equipment gathered in L Building’s central hallway had already been flood damaged.
Security is likely to increase at the high school and other schools where construction is underway, but Duggan said it’s difficult, given the number of people coming and going at these sites.
“We’re looking at adding additional cameras and additional ways we can secure these campuses,” Duggan said.