In Payette, Idaho, four teenagers have been accused of burning down their Payette High School Principal’s house in retaliation for a school suspension.
Payette Police Chief Mark Clark said he believed the teens set fire to the Mark Heleker the school principal’s home in retaliation for a couple of them being suspended the week prior. And asked the judge to issue warrants for the teens’ arrests on felony charges
According to the Argus Observer one teen is being charged with first-degree arson, while the other three will be charged with conspiracy to commit arson,
It started when one decided to light the trash can in the driveway of Heleker’s house. The flames then spread to the attic of the house.
Luckily the family all managed to escape the blaze unharmed after Katie the wife reportedly noticed the fire while out walking the dog. They also were able to rescue their pets and a few photo albums, but the rest of their possessions, including their three cars, were lost in the fire, according to the Idaho Statesman.
Police investigators were led to the four boys through social media. one teen reportedly posted a Snapchat message, which bragged about starting the fire and contained a fire emoji.
“That’s where we started,” Police cheif Clark said, according to the Idaho Statesman. “Then we were receiving information from other students about particular students bragging about the fire.”
The teens will be transported to Canyon County Juvenile Facility once they are arrested. All four will initially appear in adult court, although some may be transferred to juvenile court at a later date.
They also face burglary charges for breaking into cars.
Meanwhile, the Payette community has quickly came together to help Heleker and his family with support in their hour of need.
Students created a GoFundMe page to help raise money, that has raised over $3,000 in 10 days. The Heleker family is currently staying in a hotel while looking for a longer-term rental house.
“The tragedy itself was so terrible and going through it, it’s going to take a long, long time to recover, and there’s some things we’ll never get back,” Heleker told the Argus Observer. “But on the other side of it, the positive outpouring from the community is just amazing. We’re just so grateful.”
Sources: Argus Observer