Teen charged for fire at vacant Little Falls warehouse

By By DAVE DELLECESE

LITTLE FALLS, N.Y. (WKTV) - A teen has been charged in connection to an intentionally set fire at a vacant warehouse in Little Falls, which investigators said was being used as a hangout for a group calling themselves "the Jokers."

According to Little Falls Police, the arrest of the youth came on Wednesday, October 21 - exactly one week from the day the fire broke out at a vacant warehouse on East Mill Street.

Police say a 17 year old male, whose name is not being released, has been charged with third-degree burglary, along with third-degree arson. He was arraigned on the charges and bail was set at $5,000 cash or $10,000 bail bond.

Although there was a delay in pursuing the charges from the October 14 fire, Little Falls Police assure that there was no additional danger to the community because the teen was incarcerated on a separate charge since the day of the fire.

The five-story brick building was already boarded up at several entrances and windows, even before a fire broke out there on October 14, 2009. According to Little Falls Fire Chief Robert Parese, crews got on the scene before Noon that day and found a thick, black smoke coming from the building's fourth floor. As firefighters made their way through a stairwell, they discovered that the doors leading to the fourth floor were locked. They eventually made their way past the door and discovered debris on fire in the center as well as other parts of the room.

Police said that during the investigation into the fire, they discovered writing on the walls of the building connected to a group referring to themselves as "the Jokers." Police said this and other evidence located inside the vacant warehouse led them to believe that it was being used as a hangout spot and party spot for youths.

Explosive devices, commonly referred to as Molotov cocktails were found throughout several locations of the building, leading investigators to determine that the fire had been intentionally set. On top of that, investigators said the locked doors to the fourth floor were steps taken to hinder the fire department's response to extinguish the fire.

Little Falls Police said they do no anticipate additional arrests in relation to the arson fire at the warehouse. However, they said arrests may result from other illegal activity believed to have occurred at the warehouse.

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