Son charged in Clyde house fire

CLYDE A 17-year-old boy who escaped from a Clyde fire has been charged with attempted murder and ars
JACOB LAMMERS
May 24, 2010

CLYDE

A 17-year-old boy who escaped from a Clyde fire has been charged with attempted murder and arson.

James Rogers of 129 W. McPherson Highway faces two counts of attempted murder and three counts of aggravated arson after he intentionally set the house on fire Monday morning while his mother and sister slept, Clyde Police Det. Mark Roach said.

Rogers, a junior at Clyde High School, had an initial hearing Tuesday in Sandusky County Juvenile Court, where court representatives entered a denial on his behalf for all counts. An attorney will be appointed for him.

His pretrial hearing date has not been set.

The Clyde Police Department determined the blaze was set intentionally after an investigation by the Ohio Fire Marshal's Office and Clyde Fire Department. Firefighters discovered a stick lighter and lighter fluid in the first-floor living room, where the fire originated, said Clyde fire Chief Mike Andrews.

Rogers sprayed lighter fluid on the walls, curtains and floor and then rolled a paper into a funnel, filling it with lighter fluid, Andrews said.

"He put too much fuel in the funnel, and it flashed and he dropped it on the floor," Andrews said. "It got out of hand, and he couldn't get it out. They're lucky they got out."

James Rogers' mother, Holley Rogers, and his sister are now homeless and are staying with his grandmother and grandfather, Betty and Ralph Rogers. Betty Rogers said James has never been in trouble before.

"We've always found him to be a good boy," Betty Rogers said. "It's hard for us to believe it, and other people are feeling the same way that know him well."

Betty Rogers said she does not know why James set the house on fire.

Roach said the fire is still under investigation because evidence has to be analyzed at a state fire lab.

Before Monday's fire Rogers did not commit any serious crimes, "just normal kid stuff," Roach said.

Rogers was charged with unruliness for fighting with his sister and a curfew violation, Roach said.

"After 25 years being here, it shocks me that the young lad would start his own home on fire," Roach said. "It just makes you wonder why."

James Rogers, his sister and mother escaped the house after it burned through the first and second floors. James and Holley were rescued when a passerby placed a ladder up to a second-story window, while his sister jumped from a second-story back porch.

Firefighters estimated the house sustained $60,000 worth of damage and was a total loss.