Playground Fire Was YouTube Stunt Gone Awry: Officials

Four teens arrested Tuesday for their roles in setting P.S. 29's new playground set ablaze wanted to slide down fire.

Hopes of being Internet daredevils is what led to P.S. 29's new playground set being charred and four teens being busted, fire officials said.

Max Layton and Bairn Sweeney, both 16, along with two other neighborhood teens, surrendered today to fire marshals at the 76th Precinct stationhouse, said FDNY Chief Fire Marshal Robert Byrnes.

All the teens involved were charged with arson, reckless endangerment, trespassing and criminal mischief.

The teens had wanted to make a YouTube video of one of them sliding through a trail of fire, Byrnes said. Their plan was to pour rubbing alcohol on the plastic slide and then record the action.

They stuffed clothing and trash at the base of slide and lit the blaze, said Byrnes. But when the flames got too intense, they ran off — without filming anything.

The blaze damaged the slide, swing, rock wall and rubber matting. All in all, the teens allegedly caused $50,000 worth of damages.

That exact amount was on behalf of the teens parents. When officials at P.S. 29 were approached by Gregory, said Byrnes, they called the fire marshals.

"They must be held accountable for their actions," Byrnes said.

Rumors earlier Tuesday incorrectly reported there were nine teens involved.

Gregory, who is representing Layton,

"I just hope for the best. I hope everything turns out well for him," he said.

Byrnes said the teens were caught with help from witnesses and the community.

P.S. 29 parent Ariane Ben Eli, who penned two blog posts (read and ) for Patch on the fire at the school, commended the teens for coming forward.

"Despite being demonized and subjected to poor-little-rich-kid criticism, this boy came forward and is willing to subject himself to the legal process," she said. "That is admirable."

"I would be thrilled if they offered to apologize to the students next," she added.


Zach Haberman contributed reporting

John Kim May 18, 2011 at 03:50 AM
are those pictures from before or after the fire? what costs $50k to repair.


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