ELWOOD, Ind. - Four juveniles were arrested, including the son of Elwood Mayor Ron Arnold, in connection with a large fire that rolled through the former State Plating plant Friday evening.
The city of Elwood released a statement early Saturday morning about the fire, confirming the arrests and providing details on the blaze.
The arrested juveniles are ages 17, 14 and 13. Each was charged with arson after questioning, officials said.
"Police began receiving information soon after the fire was under control that four juveniles were seen leaving the facility shortly before the fire broke out," said Elwood fire spokesman Jeff Howe.
Authorities said the juveniles entered the property through an open gate and door to the building. Neighbors had told police that juveniles had recently been seen going into the building.
Officials are still working to determine how the fire began.
"There were flames shooting high, and I mean it's past the power lines," said witness Lauren Clark.
"I was impressed by the power of it and the force," said Corie Lovell, of the Elwood Police Department. "I was actually standing almost out by the street, and I could feel the heat and the force of the flames."
Mayor Ron Arnold released a statement after the arrests.
"As difficult as this situation is as mayor, it is made more difficult by the fact that my son is one of the juveniles involved," Arnold said. "This revelation has been devastating to me and my family. We covet your prayers as we as we walk through this difficult time for our city and my family."
"Pretty surprised, because he is a really good kid and he is a really good friend," said Ashley Titley, a friend of the mayor's son. "I'm surprised he would do something like that."
The juveniles could make their first court appearance as soon as Monday.
More than 30 fire departments from Madison County and the surrounding areas responded to the fire, which was under control by 9 p.m. Friday. There were no injuries.
The State Plating plant employed about 70 people until it closed four years ago.