GRANVILLE — Two teenagers who ran away from a foster home have been charged with arson in connection with a fire that destroyed a barn on county Route 17 early Wednesday.
No injuries were reported from the blaze at 2647 Route 17, which was reported at 3:10 a.m. A tractor inside the barn was destroyed, but no livestock were inside.
Fifrefighters from North Granville, Middle Granville and Hartford responded to douse the flames, but the building was fully ablaze when they arrived. Washington County fire investigators and the county Sheriff’s Office were summoned to investigate, and determined the fire appeared to be suspicious.
Police learned that two teens, a boy and girl whose names weren’t released because of their ages, had been staying at a nearby foster home but had been reported missing hours earlier, one having cut off an electronic monitoring anklet. They were located for questioning while walking on Route 40 later Wednesday, and one was cooperative with investigators and explained what happened.
They told investigators they were staying in the barn and started a fire to keep warm. The fire, set in a vehicle rim, caused an attached tire to catch fire, and the fire spread through the building.
Sheriff’s Capt. Tony LeClaire said the duo had no connection to the property where the fire occurred, but simply took shelter there after leaving the foster home.
“It was on their route of travel after they left the foster home,” he said.
One of the teens was from Schenectady; the other’s hometown was not available.
The teens were charged with third-degree burglary, a felony, and fourth-degree arson that alleges they recklessly set a fire. One will also be charged with damaging the anklet.
The teens were arraigned late Wednesday before Washington County Family Court Judge Adam Michelini and sent to a secure juvenile detention center, pending further court action.
The 16-year-old will be prosecuted as an “adolescent offender” under state law that took effect last fall, which could result in that case being handled in adult criminal court.
The younger suspect will be prosecuted as a juvenile in Family Court.