2 girls charged after fire damages playground in Joppatowne

Posted at 10:25 AM, Jun 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-30 07:24:25-04
A large fire in the middle of the playground at Chell Road Park on Wednesday, which caught everyone, including neighborhood children, by surprise, was caught on video. 
"We heard like these banging-type of noises at the playground near us and we were like, 'Let me see what's going on. Hopefully nobody got hurt', and that's when we saw the playground was on fire," said Ashlyn Giardina. a young girl who lives in the neighborhood.
Firefighters from nearby Joppa Magnolia Volunteer Fire Company took about 15 minutes dousing the flames, but questions remained over how the fire started.
Senior Deputy State Fire Marshal Oliver Alkire says a tip from a witness pointed to a pair of young girls, and early Thursday, they fessed up to accidently causing the fire. 
"This morning they were contacted by the parents of two females, a 13-year-old and a 12-year-old,” said Alkire. “They made contact with those juveniles and they readily admitted that they were indeed there prior to the fire and they did ignite a notebook on fire, which I don't think. We don't believe it was there intended target to set the playground on fire." 
A mystery remains over the contents of that notebook, which is said to be that of a former friend to the girls or why they were determined to burn it, but at least one neighbor is quick to forgive them.
"It's just kids being kids,” said Lauren Januszkiewicz who lives near the playground. “I mean it's unfortunate that it happened. I'm just glad nobody got hurt."
And it did provide young Ashlyn Giardina with an experience she'll never forget.
"They actually let her use the hose for a few minutes,” said Januszkiewicz. “She had an exciting day."
While investigators believe the young girls didn't mean to burn down the playground, they each face a juvenile charge of first degree malicious burning, and the fire caused a thousand dollars’ worth of damage.