13 Fire at the Grange

I mentioned we don’t live far from the Grange building. It’s only two houses up the street. One summer Daniel and Nathan were visiting. Daniel and Tyler were about the same age. Daniel was 13 and Tyler 12. They went down town and bought some lighters at the store. They tried to light the bridge on fire. I had to look at that damage for a few years until the city changed out the planks. Then they went to the Grange and lit some pine needles on fire right up against the Grange. It was afternoon but I was asleep. Then I heard fire engines and police cars. The older boys Nathan and Derek tried to lie to cover for the younger boys. But it was soon evident that our boys had started the fire. In the end, the two boys were convicted of a felon which would be expunged if they had no more infractions by age 18. They both made it –barely.

There was $15,000 of damage to the Grange. Fortunately, our homeowner’s insurance covered it because of the boys young ages. They then canceled our policy. I don’t blame them.

Tyler had to do public service. When he wasn’t compliant, they put him in jail for a night. He did pretty well after that. And I had to take him into “Fire Classes” in Pullman. It was for a few weeks but was like salt in my wound. I couldn’t believe they could be that stupid after all the lessons on fire safety. It was a very dry summer and could have been much worse. The whole fire experience was a nightmare for me. It was the last summer we had the boys up from Logan. They were all getting raunchy and rude. The fun was gone. They were trying to prove who was the most macho and it was disgusting to me. It was a sad day. We had to fly Daniel back for the trial. I don’t remember seeing much remorse in those boys.

Tyler later told me when he was about 27 that he and Daniel bought the cigarette lighters at the store so they could smoke pot. Tyler was 11 at that time. Daniel supplied the marijuana (which he probably got from Nathan). So they were both high when they started the fires. Stupid.

Daniel later added this tidbit:
“Tyler had told me he found the lighters on the bank steps. Also I had never smoked pot till I was 15 and it was in Providence with a friend behind a old shed. Later learned I am allergic to the stuff. Haven’t been near it since I was 20. So the fact that Dad heard it from Tyler just seems like Tyler is trying to cover his butt about having started the fire. Just thought it was weird about the pot.”

Steve again: I guess we’ll never know the truth. Does it matter? Nope.