Youths accused of starting fire to be evaluated |

Youths accused of starting fire to be evaluated

Elaine Goodman

Three children accused of setting a Sierra Tract home on fire last month will undergo an evaluation to determine if they were merely “curious” fire-setters or if they are considered “troubled.”

The children, three siblings who live in South Lake Tahoe, were playing with a lighter outside the home at 1160 Reno Ave. on April 21 when the back deck home of the home caught on fire, said South Lake Tahoe Fire Marshal Ray Zachau.

The fire burned into the kitchen of the house, resulting in about $50,000 to $75,000 in damage from flames, smoke and water, Zachau said.

The house is a vacation home and was unoccupied at the time of the afternoon blaze.

The children, all younger than 14, aren’t facing criminal charges but are being referred for a mental-health evaluation, Zachau said. If the children fall into the “curious” category ” which is the case for about 80 percent of juvenile fire-setters ” they might be directed to an educational program.

For those who are determined to be “troubled,” further intervention may be needed.

“We like to catch these things early,” Zachau said.

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