Teen charged in connection with Salamanca train depot fire

SALAMANCA-A 14-year-old male was charged Tuesday after allegedly setting ablaze an abandoned railroad depot in Salamanca last month, according to a report by The Salamanca Press.

The teen – whose name was not released due to his age – was charged with fourth-degree arson, second-degree criminal mischief, third-degree burglary and second-degree reckless endangerment.

He will appear in Cattaraugus County Family Court at a later date.

According to Salamanca fire officials, the fire that ripped through the historic Erie Rail Depot on July 29 was always “suspicious in nature.”

Multiple juveniles, according to Salamanca Police Chief Paul Myers, were interviewed at the scene.

“Chasing down every lead, it came down to one 14-year-old male,” said Myers, crediting his investigators Rhonda Bush and Tina Owens for the arrest.

The fire reportedly started in a barrel inside the depot.

“We’ve had (attempted arsons) at the depot in the past six months,” said Anthony Ellis, assistant fire chief of the Salamanca Fire Department. “They’ve all been put out in a short period of time though.”

The Salamanca Police Department was assisted by the Cattaraugus County Fire Investigation Team, a division of the Sheriff’s Office.

Arsons, while not as prevalent as property or other drug-related crimes, remain a costly threat to the local area.

According to Lieutenant Tim Glenn, fire investigations supervisor at the Jamestown Fire Department, vacant (properties) are typically an easy target for arsonists.

“We’ve got to pay attention to what’s going on,” Glenn said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if the percentage of arson fires in Jamestown is higher than the statewide average.”

Donald Woodfield, battalion chief of the Jamestown Fire Department, estimated that 30 to 50 percent of reported fires in the city are ruled an arson.

Recent arson attacks include the early morning blaze of a vacant, multi-dwelling residence, located at 41-43 Clinton St. on April 9; a two-story home at 236 Falconer St., which sustained significant fire damage on Jan. 8; and a fire found inside a vacant home on First Street near Rundquist Alley on Dec. 8.