By JAIME STUDD
Recorder News Staff
BROADALBIN -- Three youths were arrested this week in connection with last week's fire at the former Mohawk Mills complex in the village of Broadalbin.
Morgan Bronson, 17, of County Highway 110, in Broadalbin, and two juvenile males are accused of inadvertently setting the blaze.
According to a news release from the Fulton County Sheriff's Office, the three entered an abandoned building on the Mill Street property on the afternoon of Sept. 19 and proceeded to start a fire on the third floor. One of the juveniles later attempted to extinguish the blaze and, believing that the fire was put out, the three left the premises. The fire subsequently reignited on the floor.
The Broadalbin-Kennyetto Fire Department responded to the call at approximately 5 a.m. on Sept. 20. Witnesses had reported flames coming from the storage facility in the back of the complex.
According to Broadalbin-Kennyetto Fire Chief Scot Hall, the fire was contained to the inside of the building. There was no structural damage and there were no injuries.
Broadalbin Mayor Eugene Christopher said area youths often use the abandoned buildings as a place to "hang out" and "ride skateboards."
"They been doing that," Christopher said. "We know, but we haven't caught them."
Christopher said he has recognized the abandoned buildings to be a safety issue for some time and would love to see them renovated and a new business take ownership.
"I'm trying to do something with it," Christopher said. "You have empty buildings, you're going to have problems."
Until that happens, however, Christopher said he is at a loss how to prevent the repeated instances of trespassing on the property.
"They fix the fence and the kids keep knocking it down," Christopher said. "You can't have a cop there 24 hours a day to keep an eye on them."
Bronson was charged with fourth degree arson, a class E felony, and fourth degree criminal mischief, a class A misdemeanor. He was issued an appearance ticket, released and is scheduled to appear in Broadalbin Village Court at a later date.
The two juveniles, whose names are being withheld due to their age, were also charged with fourth degree arson. Their cases have been referred to Fulton County Family Court.