Two teens charged after 7th Avenue Gym fire - KXLH.com | Helena, Montana

Two teens charged after 7th Avenue Gym fire

Posted: Jan 31, 2018 8:17 PM Updated:

Two teenagers arrested after a fire at the 7th Avenue Gym Tuesday night made their first appearance in court Wednesday.

The teens appeared by video from the Juvenile Detention Center in Great Falls.

The Helena Police Department said officers responded to the gym just before 6:30 p.m., after a witness reported seeing someone breaking windows. 

When HPD arrived, they found the building full of smoke.

Officers said the teenagers were inside the building when they arrived. They said the two tried to run away, but were eventually taken into custody.

According to police, the Helena Fire Department later found a garbage can that had been set on fire in the gym’s basement.

A 14-year-old boy is charged with arson, burglary, criminal mischief, and obstructing a peace officer, while a 15-year-old boy is accused of criminal trespass, obstructing a peace officer, and accountability for criminal mischief.

District Judge Kathy Seeley ordered the 14-year-old to remain in custody in Great Falls, until juvenile probation officers can find an alternative placement for him.

His attorney had asked that he be released to his parents with electronic monitoring, but prosecutors opposed that request, saying he had been linked to a previous negligent arson several weeks earlier.

Seeley ruled that the 15-year-old, who did not have prior citations, could be released into his mother’s custody.

Both teens are scheduled for another court appearance next week.

RELATED: Helena School District addresses 7th Avenue Gym's future after fire

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