LARGO — Police say a 14-year-old boy set fires at two vacant duplexes late last month.
Damian C. Rodriguez was arrested Tuesday and charged with two felony counts of arson.
According to Largo police, the boy started a fire at 2827 Willow Avenue, Apt. B on the evening of Dec. 26. The blaze caused about $50,000 in damages to the building.
Five days later, on New Year's Eve, Largo firefighters responded to another fire at a duplex in the same block at 2823 Willow Avenue, Apt. A, around 2:45 p.m. An investigation revealed that fire had also been intentionally set. Damages were estimated at $50,000 in that blaze also.
During their investigation, police learned that local children knew the buildings were vacant and were using them as hang outs.
"It was just a lot of hard work on the detectives' parts, going out, knocking on doors, talking to people," said Largo police spokesman Lt. Mike Loux.
When interviewed by police, the boy admitted setting the fires, Loux said.
Largo police worked with Largo Code Enforcement to secure the unoccupied properties and others in the area, Loux said.