UPDATE: 2 teens face arson charges for Racine fires - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: 2 teens face arson charges for Racine fires

Posted:
Rochester Police deployed their drone. Rochester Police deployed their drone.
Austin Police also responded. Austin Police also responded.
A deputy surveyed the scene. A deputy surveyed the scene.
Several squad cars could be seen beyond the roadblock. Several squad cars could be seen beyond the roadblock.
RACINE, Minn. (KTTC) -

Two 13-year-old boys will be charged with arson after a house and two campers caught fire in Racine Monday night, prompting a manhunt.

According to Mower County Sheriff Terese Amazi, deputies responded to a report of a house fire on Harrison Avenue at about 3:30 p.m. Monday. They were also notified that two teens had ran away.

Amazi said one of the teens lives at the home that caught fire, and that cash was missing. The fire caused extensive damage to the home, Amazi added.

As first responders were clearing the area, an explosion occurred nearby and a camper caught fire. The flames then spread to a second camper, Amazi said. This led deputies to believe the two teen boys were still in the area, so authorities set up a perimeter.

Oak Avenue Southeast was blocked off at the intersection of Iowa Street Southeast until about 9:55 p.m. Monday as Mower County deputies searched for the two boys. A K-9 unit from the Austin Police Department assisted.

A Minnesota State Patrol helicopter also took part in the search, and later, officers from the Rochester Police Department arrived at the scene to deploy their drone.

Authorities eventually found the two 13-year-old boys hunkered down in a washout just before 10 p.m., said Amazi.

The teens will be charged with arson, Amazi said. They are being held at Many Rivers Juvenile Detention Center in Rochester.

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Mower County deputies, Austin Police and Rochester Police responded to Racine Monday night to investigate what officials called a "suspicious fire" and "small explosion."

Oak Avenue Southeast was blocked off at the intersection of Iowa Street Southeast from about 7 p.m. to 9:55 p.m.

According to a Mower County deputy at the scene, there was a suspicious fire and small explosion in the area, although he did not say what caught fire or what caused it. The deputy said a K-9 unit from Austin was at the scene, but did not say what the dog was searching.

A neighbor at the scene said it was his camper that caught fire. He told KTTC he did not have room to park his camper on his driveway on Iowa Street Southeast, so he rented a property east of Oak Avenue Southeast to park the camper. He said he did not know how his camper caught fire and was surprised by the heavy law enforcement presence.

Another neighbor, Glenn Wilson, said he heard the initial explosion.

"It wasn't huge, but you can tell it was like gas cans maybe, barrels possibly. Big enough to hear," said Wilson. 

He described what he saw next.

"A lot of smoke here -- big, heavy, thick black smoke, so I came down, checked it out," said Wilson. "This was right about 7 o'clock. And it was, what I considered at the time, a building down here that had some stuff in it. Well, I found out later it must have been a camper or something that burnt up."

Wilson said he saw the fire department put out the fire and leave the scene, so he thought it was over. But after seeing more and more law enforcement officers arrive, he became curious.

"I just kind of wonder what's going on, because obviously, it's more than a fire," Wilson said. "With dogs and all that, obviously."

At one point, law enforcement could be heard talking on a loud speaker, but it was unclear what they said.

Officers with the Rochester Police Department later arrived on scene and deployed their new drone.

Police and deputies cleared the scene at about 9:55 p.m. Monday. Investigators have not released other details. Stay with the NewsCenter for updates on this developing story.

PREVIOUS STORY

Mower County authorities on scene confirmed they are investigating what may be a suspicious fire and small explosion Monday evening.

They responded to the fire around 7 p.m. in the 500 block of Minnesota Avenue Southeast in Racine. 

They set up a perimeter, and a K-9 searched the area. 

Neighbor Glenn Wilson said KTTC, "I found out later that it must've been a camper or something that burnt up, I guess." 

Rochester Police also used their drone on scene. 

This is a developing story. KTTC will update it with more information as it becomes available. 



 

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