CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - The Chesterfield County Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services responded on Feb. 14 to the 10600 block of Hollyberry Drive at 5:44 p.m. for a brush fire. The fire burned approximately three acres in the Arbor Landing neighborhood.
The Chesterfield County Fire Marshal's Office charged three juveniles with arson as a result of the incident, and they were released to their parents. Over the last seven days, Chesterfield County fire marshals have charged seven juveniles and one adult with arson-related crimes.
Three kids playing with a lighter - that's what sparked a nearly 20-acre brush fire in Chesterfield late Thursday.
Red hot flames shot out through the trees near the Sunnybrook neighborhood off Qualla Road - too close for comfort for many people who couldn't do anything but watch.
"The wind was blowing. If the wind hadn't settled down a little bit, it would have crossed the creek," said neighbor, Bobby Jenkins.
A small creek runs through the wooded area just behind this row of homes.
Brittany Russell and her boyfriend were the first ones to spot the fire and also help catch the kids now accused of starting it.
"I walked back in the woods after he said he noticed something was going on. I went back there to see what was going on and there's two kids back there," said Russell.
Firefighters ended up catching not two but three boys.
The Fire Marshall said the blaze started with three juveniles playing with a lighter in the wooded area behind the homes. The boys were caught and later confessed.
"They admitted to playing with a lighter back there, that they didn't mean to do it, but that they were just playing games and it go out of control," said Lt. Jason Elmore of Chesterfield Fire and EMS.
Fire officials examined aerial photos and determined about 16 acres burned near the homes.
A prime example of what can happen when people ignore the burn ban.
"People really have to be careful. Nobody should be thinking about burning anything outside," said Richard Reuse of the Virginia Department of Forestry.
Fire officials say the boys were arrested and charged with misdemeanor arson, but later released to their parents.