A Bethany Beach police officer on patrol in the town March 30 spotted evidence of a fire in progress, leading to the apprehension of three juveniles.
According to Bethany Beach Police Department (BBPD) Public Information Officer Joanna Robertson, around 11 p.m. on Wednesday, March 30, the Bethany officer observed illumination and smoke coming from a home under construction in the 200 block of Ocean View Parkway.
Robertson said the officer also observed movement that appeared to be a person inside the residence.
Deputy State Fire Marshal Randall W. Lee said the Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company, assisted by the Millville and Rehoboth fire companies, also responded to the scene and found smoke coming from the three-story home.
Robertson said officers from the BBPD, Ocean View Police Department and Delaware State Police entered the home, extinguished the fire to prevent further damage and apprehended three juveniles, who she said were caught in the act of setting the house on fire.
State Fire Marshal investigators determined that the fire originated on the third floor of the home and was, indeed, intentionally ignited.
The three juveniles were charged with third-degree arson, second-degree criminal trespass and third-degree conspiracy. They were released to their parents, each with unsecured bond of $1,750 total for the three charges.
Lee said the damage to the home, owned by John Mears, had been estimated at $300. There were no injuries reported.