3 juveniles sentenced for starting fire at MCDI in Springfield

5 firefighters were injured in effort to put out June 2016 fire

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Three juveniles have been sentenced for setting a fire last June at the former Massachusetts Career Development Institute building; a fire that injured five Springfield firefighters.

All three suspects pleaded guilty to charges of breaking and entering and setting the fire. Two of them are serving sentences in juvenile detention, while the third suspect was convicted as an adult, and will serve 2 ½ years in jail. Their names have not been released because they are juveniles.

According to Jennifer Mieth, spokesperson for the state Department of Fire Services, the fire was set in a pile of carpet samples and other debris on the second floor of the Wilbraham Avenue building. The fire is believed to have been smoldering for a while before the structure became engulfed in flames.

Five firefighters were injured in the effort to put out the fire, which lasted for about a day’s time. Springfield Fire Commissioner Joseph Conant says that one of the injured firefighters remains out of work at this time.

“Arson fires are never victimless crimes. Tax revenues, business opportunities, and the entire sense of community are damaged,” State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey said in a news release sent to 22News. “As this case indicates, vacant building fires are one of the most dangerous types of fires for firefighters.”

According to the Massachusetts Fire Incident Reporting System, a firefighter is hurt in one out of every seven fires in vacant buildings, compared to one out of every 44 structure fires in general.