16-year-old faces arson charge in Monticello school fire

MONTICELLO — A 16-year old Monticello High School student was formally charged in juvenile court with arson Wednesday for the Jan. 31 restroom fire at Washington Elementary School.

The incident prompted the temporary evacuation of elementary and high school students from the building but caused no injuries.

Piatt County State's Attorney Dana Rhoades said the arson charges are a Class 2 felony with a possible penalty of three to seven years in prison.

Monticello police arrested the 16-year-old male on Monday after a weekend investigation. His initial court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 22 in Piatt County Circuit Court.

"The court will appoint an attorney since it is a juvenile," Rhoades said.

The fire began in a toilet paper holder in a boys' restroom and spread to the ceiling, causing smoke damage and depositing a large amount of soot in the room.

Monticello Fire and Rescue volunteers put out the fire with hand-held extinguishers. Elementary school students were back in their classrooms an hour after the fire. High school students who use the south wing of the school were using those six classrooms the next day.

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wayward wrote on February 06, 2013 at 9:02 pm

What was a 16-year-old doing in the elementary school in the first place?

use er name wrote on February 07, 2013 at 1:02 am

"The court will appoint an attorney since it is a juvenile," Rhoades said.