Two Boys Arrested In Connection With Prophetstown Fire - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Two Boys Arrested In Connection With Prophetstown Fire

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Businesses reduced to rubble, homes destroyed, and two young boys are behind bars, believed to be responsible.  

A 16 year old and a 12 year old have been arrested in connection with Monday's Prophetstown fire that destroyed eight buildings.    

Police took the boys into custody less than 24 hours after the blaze tore through businesses and apartments, displacing residents and costing them nearly everything.  

Authorities say they grew suspicious after they noticed several other small fires had been started around town the same night. They were able to track the boys down after a family member had suspicions and turned them in.    

Police questioned the boys and discovered the fire started in a recycle bin full of cardboard and paper behind Cindy Jean's Restaurant, then it got out of control.    

The boys are half-brothers from out of town visiting family, but tonight, they are being held at a juvenile detention center in Galesburg.  

"The littlest one was hugging me as he's trying to get into the car, it's hard, it's something you don't want to see but there's consequences for foolish actions," Prophetstown Police Chief Michael Fisk says. 

"They're just kids being kids, I asked that million dollar question, ‘Why'd you do it?'," he says, "Just being kids, ringing doorbells, having fun at night, bored and lit little fires." 

"I firmly believe they didn't plan to have something this severe happen," he adds. 

Meanwhile, the community is still recovering from the shock of the fire, now having to deal with the news of these arrests.  

Shirley Ott has owned her ceramics shop in town for almost 35 years. But now everything sits under a pile of rubble.      

"Half my life work is across the street and now it's gone," she says. 

Ott lived above her business and lost everything in the fire.  

"It's sad, and I'm kind of old to be starting all over again," she says. 

When told the news, Ott says the whole situation is just sad.  

"They destroyed half my life work, my everyday purpose in life," Ott says. 

The news is devastating in a small town, already dealing with a huge loss for the community. 

"I can't believe it happened, I mean it's just unbelievable that they were the results of horsing around or thinking it's funny or even doing it on purpose is a horrible thing," Main Street Director Eileen Detra says. 

Prophetstown's Main Street organization has been working to re-vitalize the downtown in recent years. Now all that work is gone. 

"It doesn't change anything, it's still devastating it even happened and what a waste," Detra says, "These people lost their homes and their businesses." 

As for Ott, she's trying to keep in good spirits.

"It's not going to do me any good to get angry, just give me a heart attack, I don't need that right now!" she jokes.     

But she says she's not ready to forgive.  

"No, never, they destroyed my life's work and my reputation," Ott says. 

The boys have not been officially charged yet. They have a hearing in Sterling Wednesday morning at 10:30 am.

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