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Two teenagers arrested in arson at Foothill Farms school

Student reacts to arson fire at Foothill Ranch Middle School

After an arson fire burned through a locker room at Foothill Ranch Middle School early Friday, March 18, 2016, student Clifford Williams, 12, shared his thoughts about the blaze that caused an estimated $40,000 in damage.
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After an arson fire burned through a locker room at Foothill Ranch Middle School early Friday, March 18, 2016, student Clifford Williams, 12, shared his thoughts about the blaze that caused an estimated $40,000 in damage.

Two 16-year-old boys have been arrested, accused of deliberately setting fire to a Foothill Farms school locker room early Friday, fire officials said.

The blaze broke out about 3:30 a.m. at Foothill Ranch Middle School, 5001 Diablo Drive, part of the Twin Rivers Unified School District.

When Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District crews responded to the campus, a moderate amount of smoke was coming from a gym locker room. Firefighters attacked the fire and quickly confirmed that the structure was unoccupied.

The fire, extinguished by 4 a.m., was contained to the locker room. Damage initially was estimated at $40,000, but fire officials said that figure has been increased to $100,000.

Based on the manipulation of combustible items in the fire area, the burn pattern and the lack of an ignition source, investigators determined that the fire was arson, according to a fire district news release.

Surveillance footage assisted investigators in identifying the suspects. The two youths were taken into custody Friday afternoon by members of the Arson/Bomb Task Force and the Twin Rivers Police Department.

The youths, whose names were not released because they are juveniles, were arrested on suspicion of felony vandalism and arson to a structure.

District officials, in a news release, said cleanup will take place this weekend and during the spring recess, which begins Monday.

“The fire is deeply troubling, but we will not let what happened early this morning interfere with our mission as a school district,” Twin Rivers Superintendent Steven Martinez said Friday in a written statement.

Officials said the district has a long-range facilities master plan for school improvements such as upgrading fire protection systems, new intrusion alarms, and new and replacement security cameras.

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews

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