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Fire guts apartment; boy arrested
A 10-year-old was arrested Thursday on suspicion of starting a fire at Sycamore West apartment on Thursday.
The boy could face felony charges if it is determined he set the fire intentionally, said Interim Willows police Chief Jason Dahl.
The boy is suspected of setting a fire in one of the bedrooms within the upstairs apartment occupied by his own family.
“It’s still early in the investigation,” Dahl said. “We will look at charges of unlawfully setting a fire and then go from there.”
Witnesses at the scene said the boy’s family had received an eviction notice earlier that day so police will look to see if there is a connection, Dahl said.
However, police have not ruled out that the boy was just playing with matches, he said.
Det. Troy McIntyre worked on the case through the night and was unavailable for comment Friday morning.
The fire started around 5 p.m., said fire engineer Tyler Lombard.
About 25 firefighters from Willows and Kanawha extinguished the blaze in about 30 minutes, keeping the flames from torching nearby apartments.
Sycamore West is a multi-unit apartment complex built in the mid 1970s at the corner of Sycamore and Humboldt streets.
Firefighters were able to access the apartment from the complex parking area to the north and from Humboldt Street.
Lombard said firefighters spent a total of three hours putting the fire out and moping up the scene.
Estimated damages is not known. However, Lombard said the entire upstairs apartment was destroyed and will require complete remodeling.
Lombard said the apartment below received extensive smoke damage, but it was too early to determine the extent of water damage.
The fire displaced the occupants of both apartments.
The manager of the apartments placed one of his occupants in a local motel Friday night, and the Red Cross placed the other, Lombard said.
The boy was booked into Jahn Hall Juvenile Hall in Willows.