Three middle-school juveniles have been arrested and are facing felony charges for lighting a Payson High School storage shed on fire earlier this week and destroying an estimated $90,000 worth of athletic property.
Payson Fire Chief Scott Spencer said the fire started around 2 p.m. Tuesday in a storage shed where the football and track and field teams stored hurdles, yardage markers, and other equipment, valued at $40,000. Witnesses saw the smoke and called 911.
"By the time crews arrived, it was fully engulfed," Spencer said.
Firefighters put the fire out, but the building was a total loss.
Spencer said one juvenile male was arrested on Tuesday, and on Thursday two other teens were arrested. The teens, ages 13, 14 and 14 will be charged with aggravated arson, a first-degree felony, obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony, and burglary, a third-degree felony.
Spencer said the teens were able to get inside the storage shed because it wasn’t locked. They used a lighter to start the fire inside the shed.
Police reviewed footage from security cameras around the school and were able to narrow down suspects. Ultimately, Spencer said, finding the teens came down to a lot of help from witnesses who gave descriptions.
"It was a team effort with the school and police and witnesses," Spencer said.
Payson High School and the junior high school are right next to each other on the same property, Spencer said, adding that the teens were hanging out at the school for an orientation and registration the day of the fire.
Payson High Football begins their first game of the season on Aug. 17 against Granger High.
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