From the Office of the State Fire Marshal:
HAVRE DE GRACE, Maryland (June 16, 2015) – Deputy State Fire Marshals have charged three juveniles with arson charges stemming from a fire that occurred on June 13, 2015 at 123 S. Union Avenue in Havre De Grace.
The 12:41 AM fire involved an historic 127-year-old home that was well known to city residents for its ornate stained glass and hand painted windows. Investigators determined the fire originated on a chair located on the front porch and quickly spread to the structure within minutes. Deputy State Fire Marshals worked tirelessly and eventually determined three juveniles had placed sparklers on various homes front porches along South Union Avenue, knocked and ran away with no damages occurring.
The last and final house was the Gorsuch residence, where a juvenile confessed he had thrown a sparkler onto a chair cushion, knocked and ran away again, leaving the sparkler to eventually ignite the cushion. A passerby as well as a Havre De Grace Police Officer discovered the fire. Mr. Gorsuch was able to escape but due to heavy smoke was unable to re-enter the home. With the assistance of the police officer, both were able to yell for Mrs. Gorsuch, who eventually was able to escape.
The male juvenile (15) who threw the sparkler has been charged with 1st Degree Arson, 2nd Degree Arson, 1st Degree Malicious Burning and two counts of Reckless Endangerment. The other two male juveniles (14 &15) were charged as Accessories to the same charges. After consulting with the Department of Juvenile Services, all juveniles were released to the custody of their parents.
“Hand held sparklers burn at 1,200 F° and can quickly ignite combustibles such as fabric. This incident could have easily cost the lives of two innocent victims. With the upcoming Fourth of July season, the Office of State Fire Marshal urges all Marylanders to keep fireworks out of the reach of children to avoid turning a holiday into a potential tragedy,” stated State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci.