2 teens charged with arson after tipster helps break case

Fire at 3338 Paisano Trail on March 11, 2014. The building was abandoned so no one was injured, but the structure itself was a total loss. (Photo credit: Preston Culver, Austin Fire Department)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A pair of 14-year-old boys were charged with first-degree felony arson after fire investigators received a tip to their hotline, just as they were preparing to suspend their investigation.

“We had little to go on and would have made no arrests without the aid of the Texas Arson Hotline call,” said Captain Andy Reardon with Austin Fire/Arson Investigations. “The call nailed them.”

The teens were booked into the Gardner Betts Juvenile Detention Facility after admitting to starting the blaze, investigators said.

Firefighters responded to the two-story home at 3338 Paisano Trail on March 11 and found the home engulfed in flames. Officials said the home destroyed in the blaze was abandoned. Total loss was valued at $90,000.

The charges carry penalties of 5 to 99 years in prison.

The person who called in the tip has been rewarded, officials said.

Tipsters who provide information to the Arson Hotline can be rewarded up to $1,000 if the information leads to an arrest or conviction. Callers can anonymously contact the Arson Hotline at any time by calling 1-877- 4FIRE45 (1-877-434-7345).

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