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The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • Boy, 11, charged in Ovid blaze

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  • An 11-year-old boy was charged Wednesday with starting a fire that destroyed four buildings last week on Main Street in Ovid, on the east side of Seneca Lake.
    The boy admitted to investigators that he was playing with a lighter and accidentally set trash on fire behind the New Dragon Chinese Restaurant, one of the buildings destroyed in the fire, according to the Seneca County Sheriff’s Office.
    “He attempted to extinguish the fire but was unable to do so and as the fire grew he fled the scene,” the Seneca County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. “The fire extended to propane tanks at the rear of the restaurant and into adjoining buildings.”
    The boy, whose name was not released, was charged with fourth-degree arson. He was charged as a juvenile delinquent and the case will be referred to Seneca County Family Court.
    Firefighters from fire departments in Seneca, Ovid, Schuyler, Ontario, Cayuga, Yates and Tompkins counties responded to the massive blaze, which occurred the evening of March 18.
    The Seneca County Fire Investigation Team and the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control assisted sheriff’s investigators in the case. Investigators “worked tirelessly around the clock tracking down leads,” according to Seneca County Sheriff Jack Stenburg.
    The fire destroyed the Chinese restaurant and three other businesses, along with several upper-floor apartments above the storefronts.
    Ovid is located on State Route 414 on the east side of Seneca Lake, about 22 miles north of Watkins Glen.

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