PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A 10-year-old boy is facing charges following a fire at an apartment building in Pittsburgh’s Lincoln-Lemington section that displaced dozens of residents.
According to police, the boy was playing with a ground wire when it sent out a power surge.
There are holes in the ceiling of Michael Morris’ apartment on Luzzo Court. Around 6:30 p.m. Thursday, he heard a crackling sound and opened the door to check his furnace.
“Flames were just everywhere, sparks flying all over the place,” said Morris.
The fire started at the base of some electrical meters. Police say a 10-year-old boy caused it all by swinging a copper ground wire like a rope.
“It shorted it out at the ground and then it just back fed and caused a major power surge for the whole complex,” said Detective Mike Burns, of the Pittsburgh Police Department.
What’s described as a power surge then spread throughout 10 apartments.
“Melted the soldered on some copper pipes in one apartment, and separated the pipes and flooded that apartment, and then it caused a fire in two other apartments,” said Detective Burns.
The owner of the building had crews at the site all night getting power back on, and looking at what police say may be a wiring safety problem. The owner did not offer a comment.
Officials say the boy lives in the apartment building across the street. He is being charged with arson, risking catastrophe and criminal mischief.
He was taken to Shuman Center Thursday night, but is now back with his family.