Five Youths Charged With Setting Fire In Spring Creek Area
Five juveniles were arrested Monday, January 30th by U.S. Park Police at Spring Creek, which borders Jamaica Bay. They were charged with lighting a fire in an undesignated area. The youths, ages 16 through 17, were from Ozone Park, a community near Spring Creek. The park area directly adjoins the Howard Beach residential neighborhood in Queens.
While patrolling the area during high fire danger conditions, park firefighters noticed the individuals acting suspiciously. After the suspects entered parkland, firefighters attempted to locate them, first by vehicle, and then on foot. While walking the trails, firefighters saw and smelled smoke and headed in that direction.
All five youths were standing near an uncontained fire on an ATV trail. They admitted to lighting the fire, which was being pushed by gusty winds toward tall stands of phragmites a short distance away. While extinguishing the blaze, firefighters detained the five suspects and contacted Park Police.
Officers responded quickly and took the suspects into custody. The suspects were charged with lighting a fire in an undesignated area. Each was cited to appear in federal court.
Since November 2011, 16 fires have burned in Spring Creek. The largest of these fires burned five acres December 17. Gateway experienced 42 fires in 2011, making the urban park the third most active park unit for wildland fires in the National Park Service.
The park encourages anyone who sees suspicious behavior within its boundaries to contact U.S. Park Police Dispatch at 718-338-3988. Gateway’s Jamaica Bay Unit areas include Floyd Bennett Field, Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Jacob Riis Park, Canarsie Pier, Fort Tilden, Breezy Point and Plumb Beach.
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