Teen playing with matches started Tahoe church fire

Published 01-25-2019

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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (AP) - Authorities say a teenager playing with matches admitted accidentally starting a fire that caused $15,000 damage to a church at Lake Tahoe.

Investigators previously had described the Jan. 9 fire at the Lake Tahoe Presbyterian Church in South Lake Tahoe as "suspicious."

Choir members who were practicing evacuated after they smelled smoke and called 911.

Firefighters confined the flames to the first floor and determined the fire began in a storage closet.

The Tahoe Daily Tribune reported Friday that during an investigation a 14-year-old South Lake Tahoe boy arrived on scene with his mother and confessed he'd been playing with matches hours before the blaze. He said he didn't see or smell smoke before leaving the area.

South Lake Tahoe Police Lt. Shannon Laney told the newspaper no charges have been filed or have been requested at this time.

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