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Woodvale Fire Update

A 6 and 7 year old are responsible for a fire at an abandoned Johnstown home.

That’s what fire investigators tell us about the blaze last night in the Woodvale Section of Johnstown.

And as Crispin Havener explains, those kids are too young to face any criminal penalties.

Since the statutory minimum for juvenile charges is 10 years old, those two kids, ages 6 and 7, will not be charged.

But you can see the damage that fire left behind to his home along Woodvale Avenue.

Neighbors glad that with homes so close together, the situation didn’t end up worse.

“I just feel bad for everybody that had to go through all of this. I’m just thankful that it was empty, it was abandoned, it was empty, that no one got hurt.”

Johnstown Fire Chief Robert Statler tells me that the two kids used a grill lighter to start the fire on the back porch of this home along the 400 block of Woodvale Avenue that those in the neighborhood tell me has been abandoned for years.

District Attorney Greg Neguebauer tells me that while the two kids are too young for juvenile court actions, children and youth services does have the authority to ensure the health and safety of minors of all ages through dependency proceedings.

Chief Statler also says they will have discussions with the kids about what happened.

The Fire Marshal and there are some agencies in town that will give them assistance to the children. They’ll be evaluated and then somebody will talk to them to teach them to not start a fire like that so we don’t run into a repetitive thing with the younger kids.

Statler told me that while rare to have such young kids be involved,

He says generally when they are that young they do it out of curiosity as opposed to any actual malice.


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