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Police: 14-year-old lit Dunkin Donuts bag on fire, started raging train station fire

Posted at 11:59 AM, Feb 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-28 19:05:58-05

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — New details are coming to light about a raging fire that destroyed an abandoned train station in Delray Beach earlier this week.

According to newly released arrest reports, the fire was started when a 14-year-old in an Army ROTC uniform lit a Dunkin Donuts bag on fire, and the flames grew out of control.

Police said four teens, ages 17, 15, 14, and 14, communicated through a group text message about meeting at the train station, located at 80 Depot Avenue, on Feb. 25.

WPTV is not naming the teens because they are underage.

The teens, who are all students at Atlantic Community High School in Delray Beach, left school around 9 a.m. on Tuesday, according to their arrest reports.

Two of them went to a Dollar Store and the 14-year-old in the ROTC uniform bought a kitchen lighter, police said.

The four teens then met up at the train station.

According to their arrest reports, two of the teens lit a couch on fire inside the building, then put the flames out.

Police said the teens went into another room, and the 14-year-old in the ROTC uniform lit a "Dunkin Donuts bag on fire and placed it in a bin." The teens then left that room.

"Shortly later they saw smoke coming from the room. When they returned to the room, they realized that the fire had grown and and attempted to put the fire out," the 17-year-old told police.

"They returned to the room to attempt to put the fire out, but the room was rapidly filling with black smoke and the fire was growing out of control," the 15-year-old told detectives.

The teens said the fire had gotten "out of control," so they fled the area.

Surveillance video from a nearby Chevron gas station showed them jogging away from the train station and hiding in a bathroom at the Chevron for approximately 20 minutes.


SURVEILLANCE VIDEO: Video shows teen suspects moments after Delray Beach train station fire

Police said the four teens were eventually located at Atlantic Community High School later in the day and taken into custody.

They're facing charges of first-degree arson, arson causing bodily harm, and burglary.

Police said the fire caused $100,000 in damage, and a video and picture of the fire were found in a group text message between the teens.

A firefighter with Delray Beach Fire Rescue suffered second-degree burns to his neck and ears after he was knocked down by the force of the fire while entering the building. He was taken to the hospital but released later in the day.

The train station, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1927 and was in operation until 1991, according to police.