Two local teens arrested for arson

Sean Joseph

Police charged two 16-year-old boys with arson for the rash of fires that occurred in a neighborhood off Loop Road April 6.

The two local teens, whose names have not been released because they are minors, are being held at the Portage County Juvenile Detention Center, according to a news release from the Kent Police Department.

They have each been charged with two counts of aggravated arson, two counts of arson, a felony of the first degree and a misdemeanor of the first degree, police said.

The boys allegedly started four fires on Athena, Artemis and Olympus drives in the early morning of April 6, police said.

One fire, at 1590 Artemis Drive, destroyed a two-story home and almost killed Gene Frazee, 59, who was trapped in an upstairs bedroom.

Ryan Pittman, sophomore computer science major and Frazee’s neighbor, said he brought a ladder to the Pittman’s window. Pittman was about to rescue Frazee when the fire department showed up.

Frazee was taken to Robinson Memorial Hospital and treated for smoke inhalation. He was released the next day and is currently in healthy condition, Pittman said.

“I’m really glad they found the culprit, and I hope they get what they deserve,” said Pittman.

The three other fires were on a smaller scale, said Chief James Williams of the Kent Fire Department. They included a porch fire, a flaming bag inside of a car and a pile of trash.

Neither Williams nor the Kent Police Department would comment on the arrests. Portage County Prosecutor, Vic Vigluicci, could not be reached for comment.

No information on court proceedings have been released because juvenile court matters are confidential.

Contact safety reporter Sean Joseph at [email protected].