10-Year Old Sets School on Fire

10-Year Old Sets School on Fire


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Tonya Papanikolas ReportingAn elementary student in Ogden set his classroom on fire with a lighter. What's worse, we learned he's the same boy who two weeks ago admitted to us he set his neighbors' house on fire.

The child has been suspended from school and will likely go through the juvenile court system. A child psychologist told us this kind of fire fascination needs to be addressed or it will continue putting more people at risk.

10-Year Old Sets School on Fire

Workers at Lewis Elementary were busy screwing new panels onto the wall and repainting today after a student set part of a classroom on fire.

Ross Lunceford, Lewis Elementary Principal: "The teachers and students handled it well. We were able to evacuate."

The class was in the computer lab when the student lit a paper on fire and placed it on the teacher's desk. After someone noticed the flames, the teacher came in and put out the fire with her coat.

Deputy Chief Dave Owens, Ogden City Fire Dept: "Could have been very serious. We had a full response and there was smoke coming out of the building when we got there."

10-Year Old Sets School on Fire

KSL has learned 10-year-old Braydon Kelsey has admitted to starting the fire and it isn't the first time. Two weeks ago he told Eyewitness News he set the fire that left three families homeless in his neighborhood.

Braydon Kelsey, November 15: "I was lighting the blanket on fire."

Mike Kelsey, November 15: "Hopefully they'll forgive him. He's not a bad kid."

Braydon Kelsey: "Yeah, I'm sorry for what I did yesterday."

Braydon's father told us at the time his son had a disturbing fascination with fire and was seeing a therapist. Psychologist Douglas Goldsmith says kids like Braydon need that help.

Douglas Goldsmith, Director, The Children's Center: "It is an obsession. For them to believe they can control the fire, there's a sense of power that comes along with that."

Goldsmith says every child has different reasons for lighting fires and to successfully treat the problem, you have to understand what's driving him.

Douglas Goldsmith: "Some children are feeling very angry, some children are working out prior trauma, some children love the attention. What is critical is that they're getting treatment and they stay in treatment, cause it's hard to get rid of."

Goldsmith told us that children who set fires don't think ahead to how they can endanger people, but even after seeing the consequences, it often doesn't stop their behavior.

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