Teen charged with arson seen leaving burning house with backpack, tent

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AKRON, Ohio– A 15-year old boy is behind bars accused of setting a fire that seriously injured his disabled grandfather. Neighbors say the boy left the burning home and never asked anyone for help.

The 71-year-old grandfather was listed in critical condition Monday evening, being treated inside the burn unit at Akron Children’s Hospital. Meanwhile, his grandson has been charged with arson and attempted murder.

At about 1 a.m. Monday, Shannon Bonner called 911, after he and his girlfriend discover flames coming from the house next door on Cranz Place in Akron.

DISPATCHER: “Two people in the house?”
BONNER: “No, there’s one person. I don’t know, the little boy just got out the house, but there was a big fire on the second floor.”

Bonner told the dispatcher that his 71-year old neighbor, who uses a wheelchair to get around, was trapped upstairs. While getting dressed, he looked out the window and said he saw someone walk away from the burning home. Shannon said he followed the person down the street and realized it was his neighbor’s 15-year old grandson.

“The first thing I asked him was, was he OK? He was like ‘Yeah, OK’. Second thing I asked him, ‘Did you set that fire, bruh?’ And he was like, ‘No, I didn’t set the fire,'” Bonner told FOX 8.

“He ain’t knock on nobody’s door, he ain’t yell for help nothing, he just came out, ain’t say help. Nothing,” Bonner’s girlfriend can be heard telling the dispatcher.

Bonner took a picture of a backpack, tent, socks and flashlight that he said the teen was carrying when he confronted him.

“For him to have a book bag, and some socks and a tent, I knew he was lying like there was no tomorrow,” he said.

Akron police officers and firefighters arrived to rescue the trapped man. Firefighters said they managed to knock out the flames quickly.

“It’s right here, sir, it’s a disabled man in there right now, you gotta go through the back,” Bonner can be heard telling arriving police officers.

“He was in a wheelchair, so if it wasn’t for the fireman and my brother saying it was a fire, he probably would’ve died cause the kid left the scene,” said Jarmar Rivers, Bonner’s brother

The family’s dog died in the fire and three cats were rescued.

Neighbors said the teen’s grandmother also lives in the home, but she is currently in the hospital for a previous illness.

Akron police said the teen admitted to starting the fire. He is currently being held in the Summit County Juvenile Detention Center.

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