Child faces arson charge

An 11-year-old Columbus boy has been charged with first-degree arson after the occupant of a house on School Court went outdoors, smelled smoke and observed him setting fire to grass near her house with a cigarette lighter at 12:51 p.m. Monday.

Sgt. Kevin Nixon, fire investigator for Columbus Fire & Emergency Medical Services, said the mother and four children were in the house at the time. He said one spot the size of a football and a second spot even smaller had burned when firefighters arrived. Nixon said police quickly apprehended the child and contacted the Regional Youth Development Center. The case will be handled through Muscogee County Juvenile Court.

Nixon said the youth was not in school because he had been given time away. The youth lived in another neighborhood, Nixon said.