The fire in pipe factory Set in Selfoss, South Iceland, on Sunday was caused by two nine-year-old boys playing with lighters and inflammatory chemicals. Hundreds of people had to evacuate their homes and one person was taken to hospital with smoke inhalation.
“It turned out already the same evening that two nine-year-old boys had been playing with lighters. Earlier in the day they had been setting some cardboard trash on fire in an open area. Later they entered the premises [of the factory] and were trying to set fire to some leftover wood,” revealed Selfoss detective Grímur Hergeirsson to mbl.is.
“They say they found a container with some fluid in it and splashed it around. It probably contained an inflammatory substance which caused the fire to get out of control,” Grímur explained. A man noticed the boys after they had started the fire. “He yelled at them and they ran away. He then notified the fire department.”
The boys told their parents what had happened when they got home. “They were upset and frightened. It was just a case two young boys playing around,” Grímur concluded, adding that their parents had called the police in the evening. “It’s good that the case was solved immediately and that the boys told the truth.”
The police have concluded their investigation into the fire but child protection authorities will assist the boys and their families in processing what happened. “It’s of course somewhat of a shock for young boys to experience such distress but child protection authorities and their parents will follow up on it,” Grímur stated.
Mbl.is writes that children can be held responsible for damages caused by legal violations even though they are too young to be found guilty in a court of law.
Products worth ISK millions were destroyed in the fire but firefighters prevented the fire from spreading to nearby buildings which combined value is estimated at ISK 515 million (USD 3.9 million, EUR 3.4 million), Vísir reports.