Student Charged With Starting Fire in His School

March 4, 2006 - Posted at 1:03 p.m. CST

WHEATLEY, Ark. (AP) _ Authorities say a fire that charred a

gymnasium and classrooms at the Palestine-Wheatley Middle School

was started by a 15-year-old eighth grader. Wheatley Police Chief

Dallas Brogdon says the teenager said he wanted to set the fire,

but he didn't explain why. No one was injured in the blaze Monday.

The boy was arrested on an arson charge, then released to his

parents. Authorities did not provide the boy's name because of his


The chief says the teenager crammed sheets of paper and pages

torn out of books into a furnace in a room off the gymnasium and

allowed them to catch fire from the pilot light.

The school's 160 students have not attended classes since the

fire, but are to return to school Monday.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)