Three Clayton County juveniles are in custody at an unspecified regional youth detention center, charged in the massive fire early Sunday that destroyed three historic structures relocated to Olde Towne Morrow/The District.

According to a city-issued press release, “A joint investigation conducted by the Morrow Police Department, Morrow Fire Department, Georgia Insurance Fire and Safety Commissioner’s Fire Investigation Unit, and the Atlanta office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) conclusively ruled the cause of the fire to be arson.  Specifically, investigators were able to determine that the fire was intentionally set in one of the three structures that burned; and the fire then spread to the other nearby buildings.  All three buildings were a total loss.”

Each suspect is charged with felony arson, felony burglary, felony criminal interference with government property, felony criminal damage to property, and misdemeanor criminal trespass.

Fire Chief Roger Swint said, “We are extremely grateful for the support of Insurance and Fire Safety Commissioner John King and his Fire Investigation Unit, and for the assistance of the ATF. Their close collaboration allowed us to quickly confirm the cause of the fire and narrow the focus of the criminal investigation.”

Interim Police Chief David Snively added, “This is a case solved by old-fashioned police work and close community partnerships. After confirming the fire was arson, investigators from the Morrow Police Department, Morrow Fire Department, and our state and federal partners painstakingly walked the community to meet with witnesses and review digital evidence. Those efforts ultimately led to the arrest of these three offenders.”

The city will hold a community prayer vigil at the site of the fire on Saturday, June 11 at 9 a.m. “as the city commits to rebuilding the burned buildings and resuming progress in The District.”

“The tremendous grief suffered by our community since Saturday can be somewhat resolved with the knowledge that the suspects in this case have been identified and apprehended,” Mayor John Lampl said. “I am extremely proud of the tireless efforts of Morrow Police detectives and fire investigators to close this case and begin the process of healing our community.”

Robin Kemp is executive editor and CEO of The Clayton Crescent, which she founded in 2020. She has worked for Gambit, CNN, The Weather Channel, Clayton News, Henry Herald, and numerous freelance outlets....

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