Teen charged with setting 4 house fires

State fire marshal's office alerts Jacksonville Sheriff's Office to find suspect

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The state Fire Marshal's Office and Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has arrested a 16-year-old who they say set four house fires in the Panama Park neighborhood of Jacksonville's Northside over the past week.

After an investigation of four separate fires since Jan. 22 determined to be arson, Isaiah Richardson was arrested and charged with setting fires at:

  • 74 Tallulah Street (pictured, below)
  • 434 W. 60th Street
  • 331 W. 60th Street
  • 602 Pearl Street

Authorities said arson investigator Tom White of the Jacksonville fire marshal's office determined a possible suspect in several of the fires was around the scene of the incidents at the time.

White asked patrol units to look out for the individual. The next day, a JSO patrol unit found the suspect later identified as Richardson. When he was detained, police said he had a container of gasoline.

Firefighters battle Jan. 22 house fire on Tallulah Street.
Firefighters battle Jan. 22 house fire on Tallulah Street.

According to the state, Richardson admitted to intentionally setting all four fires. Investigators said Richardson also indicated told them that if he hadn't been detained, he would have continued setting fires in the area.

Richardson was charged with four counts of arson was taken to the Duval Detention Center, where he will be held until a juvenile detention hearing is scheduled.

Lilly Primus has lived in the North Shore neighborhood for over 30 years and one of the torched homes is across the street from her home. She can't believe that a 16-year-old could be responsible setting fires, but is glad to learn someone is under arrest.

"It makes me feel a little bit more at ease, because when you leave your house you want to come back and find it the same way you left it," Primus said. "You don't want to come back and find it's burned down or somebody broke in it. And If you catch somebody and you stop it, I'm glad."

Anyone with information about an arson-related incident in the state of Florida is asked to contact the Arson Tip Hotline at 877-662-7766. 

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