By Jack Molitor
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
The four teenagers suspected of setting fire to the State Plating building in Elwood on Nov. 30 will not be charged as adults, said Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings.
The 17-, 14- and two 13-year-olds were released to their parents without bail from the Madison County Youth Center on Thursday, Cummings said.
The ages and criminal histories of the teens, dollar amount involved with the damage and the fact that no one was hurt in the fire were all factors in deciding not to try any of the suspects as adults, Cummings said.
“I don’t believe any of them should be in adult court,” Cummings said. “I don’t think the judge would waive them to be tried as adults and I don’t think it’s the right place for them.”
The four could have their initial hearing at Madison County Juvenile Court as early as next week, probably Tuesday, Cummings said.
Elwood city officials sealed the site Tuesday after the Indiana fire marshal inspected the area and declared it secured, said Elwood public information officer Jeff Howe.
“It’s still being investigated and we expect to hear a report from the fire marshal in a week or two,” Howe said.
The Elwood Fire Department has been observing the building since the blaze, keeping an eye on possible hot spots that could cause a rekindle, Howe said.
The future of the site and the building is still unclear, Howe said.
The large structure fire was battled by Elwood and area fire departments for nearly three hours last Friday night. The estimated cost of damage and details of the fire have not been released.
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