Brush fire ruled as arson in North Fort Myers

Posted at 11:33 AM, Feb 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-20 19:09:36-05

LEE COUNTY, Fla. – In a major update about the large brush fire in North Fort Myers on Sunday, two juveniles are being accused of starting the fire.

The fire threatened homes and scorched more than a dozen acres Sunday night.

The Forestry Service says the fire sparked in the area of Bentwood Court and Old Bayshore Road, north of the Lee Civic Center.

Monday, Fox 4 spoke with Fire Chief Larry Nisbet, who confirmed the fire was started by two juveniles playing in the woods with a lighter and an aerosol can.

The owner of a big portion of land, Brandon Reich was devastated at the damage. However, he said it could have been a lot worse if fire fighter had not responded so quickly. "It makes me angry," he said. "There could have been a loss of life."

The two teens will now go through an educational program to ensure this wont happen again. "It's negligent arson, not intentional arson," said Samantha Quinn with Florida Forest Services. "They are willing to go get help for it so that's all we can ask for."

However, the property owner is unsure if that will be enough. "I bought it [the land] specifically because of the natural beauty and they've ruined it." said Reich. "I'm not sure what we're going to do. Unless the people who created the arson come forward and say we're going to pay for it, which they should do, I guess I'm out of my lawn mower, my shed, and things that went up."