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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, February 12, 2009

Two teens charged in library arson

By Anne Hayden

GUILDERLAND — The Guilderland Public Library had a scare on Feb. 11, when teenagers started a fire in the men’s bathroom.

“Fire is the one thing libraries fear the most,” said library Director Barbara Nichols Randall. “We’re a building full of paper.”

The library experienced a similar incident last week, so staff was already on high alert, when a worker at the circulation desk noted that two young boys had been in the men’s room for an extended period of time and had then made a hurried exit. When a check was made in the bathroom, the fire was discovered.

The Guilderland Fire Department was called in, but by the time firefighters arrived the fire had burned itself out. The only damage was to a toilet seat and toilet-paper holder, and there were no injuries, according to a report from the Guilderland Police Department.

The police arrested the two 14-year-old boys for second-degree arson, a felony. They will be referred to Albany County Family Court. Police are withholding their names because of their age.

Nichols Randall said she was just grateful that the fire and police departments take their calls as seriously as they should. In addition to Guilderland, fire departments from Fort Hunter and Westmere were on mutual aid.

Nichols Randall concluded “You can’t play with fire at any age.”

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