14-year-olds arrested on suspicion of setting blaze at Long Beach school after string of arsons, LBFD says

Investigators have arrested two 14-year-olds from Long Beach after connecting them to the latest in a string of arsons around Naples and Belmont Shore, according to the Long Beach Fire Department.

Authorities took the boys into custody on Saturday, June 16, after linking them to a blaze at Naples Elementary School where some trash was lit on fire around 6:15 p.m. that day, said LBFD Spokesman Jake Heflin.

That was the last of five small blazes in the area between June 12 and June 16, according to authorities. In that span, three trashcans and a palm tree were also set alight, Heflin said. Investigators from the LBFD and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives are still trying to determine if the 14-year-olds are linked to the earlier fires, Heflin said.

Nobody was hurt in any of the blazes. The fire at Naples Elementary started in a trash can but also spread to the outside of a classroom where it did about $5,000 of damage, Heflin said.

One of the boys is from East Long Beach, and the other is from Naples Island, according to the LBFD. Both were taken to Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall, Heflin said.

Investigators have also concluded that someone intentionally set a large fire that erupted on June 12 at Dogz Bar and Grill on Second Street, Heflin said. That blaze caused about $140,000 in damage, according to authorities.

Authorities have not determined whether the Dogz blaze is connected to the smaller fires, Heflin said.

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Jeremiah Dobruck is managing editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his journalism career in 2007 as an intern at Palos Verdes Peninsula News and has worked for The Forum Newsgroup in New York City, the Daily Pilot and the Press-Telegram.