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February 6, 2014

Two juveniles arrested, charged in Coalmont School fire

TERRE HAUTE — Two juveniles were arrested Thursday in connection with a fire Sunday morning that destroyed the Old Coalmont School in southwestern Clay County.

The two males, ages 16 and 17, have been preliminarily charged with arson and burglary, both class-B felonies, according to the Clay County Sheriff’s Department, which described the fire as “arson.”

The juveniles were taken into custody at Jasonville shortly after noon on Thursday; one lives in Jasonville, the other in Coalmont.

The morning after the fire, the sheriff’s department started receiving information from citizens regarding the possible identity of people who might have set the fire in the school.

Detectives began interviewing potential suspects and witnesses, and on Wednesday, one of the juvenile suspects admitted that he and the other suspect were in the school lighting fires on the night the school burned.

“Detectives were told that the juveniles started the fire in the school because they were bored,” according to a sheriff’s department news release.

The sheriff’s department said citizens provided tips and information during the investigation, which was aided by the state fire marshal’s office and Shakamak school resource officer.

The former school property is located along Indiana 159 about a mile north of Shakamak State Park on Indiana 48.

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