Teen suspected in Houston County arson

bpurser@macon.comJuly 31, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- A house fire in Houston County has been ruled an arson, Fire Chief Jimmy Williams said Wednesday.

A teenager is suspected of starting the fire at 217 Ellicott Drive on Tuesday.

The house was destroyed in the 11:15 a.m. blaze, which was brought under control in about 30 minutes but was not cleared until nearly six hours later, Williams said.

About 20 county firefighters helped battle the flames. Peach County firefighters brought over additional air cylinders, he said.

Boy Scout Explorers also were on the scene and helped by bringing water to firefighters and rolling up fire hoses after the blaze. Explorers are young people between the ages of 14 and 16 interested in a career in firefighting.

Williams said he was not sure of the fire’s cost to the county but noted it was “expensive.” Each of three trucks costs about $400 an hour to use, and thousands of gallons of water were used, Williams noted.

No one was in the home when the fire started, and no firefighters were injured, he said.

Williams said firefighters have a pretty good idea of how the fire started, but he declined to elaborate because of the criminal nature of the case. It has been turned over to the Houston County Sheriff’s Office Juvenile Division.

A 16-year-old boy from Houston County was being held Wednesday at the Macon Regional Youth Development Center in connection with the arson investigation as well as a related theft by taking of a motor vehicle, said Capt. Randall Banks, head of the juvenile division. The boy is also a runaway, Banks said.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.

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