Officials searching for two teenagers responsible for starting 13 fires

The search is on for two teenagers who authorities say are responsible for starting 13 fires in a matter of hours.

Officials are posting signs and offering thousands of dollars to help catch the pair.

The fire this weekend got so intense, it forced some people out of their homes.

“(We’re) just working with the sheriff’s department to get the information out, letting people know if you see something, say something and letting people know there’s an arsonist around here,” said Patrick Mahoney with the Florida Forestry Service.

Right now, officials are searching for two young people, spotted in a red vehicle near brush fires in Charlotte County.

And neighbors are now saying the suspected arsonists knocked on their doors, telling them to turn on their irrigation systems before eventually setting the fires. It was an ominous warning.

Charlotte County Fire and EMS says educating kids is something they heavily invest in—especially when it comes to forest fires.

“Prevention goes hand in hand with education. And so that’s basically what we’re doing with the public and our children in particular,” said Dee Hawkins, a spokesperson for the county.

One of those prevention programs is called The Fire Setters. First time offenders who are caught setting things on fire go through the program and officials say it works.

“I’m not aware of any of the children that we have put through this program to have a second offense,” Hawkins said.  “It’s about providing that information about what exactly occurs and how lives are definitely in danger, property and the repercussions from starting a fire can be very serious.”

If you have any information about the fires, you’re asked to call the Florida Forest Service.

Reporter:Chris Grisby
Oliver Redsten
Writer:Erica Brown
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