State Names Juveniles Accused of Setting Blaze; One Pleads Guilty

Firefighters tackle Stevens Street blaze last September.

While a redevelopment initiative for the Stevens Street industrial zone awaits action by Haverhill city leaders, three teenagers accused of setting an eight-alarm mill building blaze there last September await an April status hearing in Lawrence Juvenile Court.

Three out of four juveniles, ages 14 to 16, arrested three days after the Sept. 20 blaze at the former site of Hudson Machinery Company, 14-30 Stevens St., remain held. The fourth suspect has since pleaded guilty and received two years’ probation, according to Carrie Kimball-Monahan, spokesperson for Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett. The three in custody were indicted as “youthful offenders” last Dec. 10 and are scheduled for a “compliance and election” hearing next month in juvenile court. A specific court date was not released.

“One the juveniles pleaded guilty and received probation for two years.  He was ordered to remain drug and alcohol free with random screens, not to possess incendiary devices, attend and complete a fire safety course and to stay away and have no contact with his co-defendants,” Kimball-Monahan told WHAV.

Identities of the three other teen suspects were released as a result of the indictments. Jared Miron, 15, was indicted on charges of burning a building and breaking and entering in the daytime for a felony. Christopher Nowell, 16; and Octavio Mercedes, 15, were each indicted for two counts of burning a building, arson of a dwelling/house, and two counts of breaking and entering in the daytime for a felony. As WHAV reported earlier, the unidentified 14-year-old teen, who received probation, was charged with burning a building, burning a dwelling and breaking and entering in the daytime with intent to commit a felony.

The charges stem from two fires at the Stevens Street mill building, on Wednesday, Sept. 16 and Sunday, Sept.20, 2015. The second fire destroyed the factory and warehouse building. Nineteen fire departments, including Haverhill, contained the flames over a 24-hour span.

During the first fire, Sept. 16, the Haverhill Fire Department responded at approximately 2:20 p.m., according to Essex District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett’s office. The fire was contained to a small area in the abandoned building and was deemed suspicious. On Sept. 20, at approximately 4:55 p.m., the Haverhill Fire Department responded to a fire at the same location. The fire was large and required the efforts of 30 area fire departments over three days. During the course of the fire, a nearby residential building at 9 Granville Court, also sustained damage.

In the meantime, the Haverhill City Council is expected to hold a public hearing during its Tuesday, April 5 meeting on a proposed zoning ordinance amendment to include, as part of the city’s Smart Growth Overlay District, the fire site and other buildings on the westerly, or Little River, side of Stevens Street. Council action was tabled last October pending state approval of an expanded overlay district zoning map to include Stevens Street.

2 thoughts on “State Names Juveniles Accused of Setting Blaze; One Pleads Guilty

  1. I feel the person who pleg guilty did not get a harsh enough sentence. The other three are charged with the same crimes. Are they all going to go free to do it again or worse?

  2. It is refreshing to see that three of the young people who set the fires at the Stevens Street building have been identified; the fourth kid should have also been identified because he is not only young, he is stupid and should be ostracized. These kids tend to hide from the public because they are juveniles, but it shouldn’t be the case. They committed these dastardly crimes and should also feel the public stigma of the act. Someone could have been killed as a result of their crime. This was no accident. They didn’t succeed the first time, so they went back and did it again. Shame on these young people.