An 11-year-old boy playing with a lighter set fire to a Hicksville garage Saturday which, in turn, ignited an apartment building and left 12 people homeless, Nassau County Police said.
The boy used a Bic lighter to ignite plastic packing material and fled the scene as the 4-alarm fire spread to the detached garage at 53 E. John St., detectives with the Nassau arson-bomb squad said.
The garage became fully engulfed in flames as Hicksville firefighters responded in force to the scene. The inferno in the garage set fire to the adjoining apartment building, resulting in a call for additional manpower. Fire companies from Plainview, Jericho, Westbury and East Meadow responded with 150 firefighters and 15 pieces of apparatus to extinguish the blaze and secure the damaged property.
The 11-year-old was arrested a short time after the fire, police said.
Twelve residents, who were displaced by the blaze, were assisted by the Red Cross. Three firefighters sustained minor heat related injuries as a result of the fire and were treated at the scene.
The defendant was charged with fourth-degree arson, a felony, and was released to his mother. He will appear on Friday, June 17th, 2011, at Family Court in Westbury.