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Fire Investigators Charge 14-Year-Old With Arson In Elementary School Fire

The Delaware Office of the State Fire Marshal has made an arrest after an arson investigation, according to Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal John Galaska.

Galaska said the fire, reported shortly after 7:00 P.M.  on April 30, 2020, damaged a maintenance and storage structures in the 40 block of Church Street on the grounds of the Phillis Wheatley Elementary School. State fire investigators were called to the scene and are performed an investigation to determine the fire’s origin and cause. This investigation revealed that the fire was intentionally started. Fire damage is estimated at $80,000.

On Wednesday, May 13, 2020, State Fire Marshal Deputies arrested a 14-year-old male subject in relation to this incident. The subject was charged with Arson 2nd degree, Burglary 3rd degree, Criminal Trespassing 2nd degree, and Criminal Mischief for events that occurred during that incident. The teen was arraigned and released to a parent pending a Family Court bond hearing.

Galaska said the investigation is still considered active and ongoing at this time. He asks any persons with information to call the State Fire Marshal’s Office Sussex Division at (302) 856-5600 or Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333.

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First State Update's Delaware editorial team covers New Castle County, Kent County and Sussex County breaking news, political news, and general news stories. We bring the reader the latest news from the Wilmington, Newark, Dover, Rehoboth Beach and all point in between. If you have news to share, email us at

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