Youth sentenced for role in hospital fire

Black smoke billows from the roof of the old High Prairie Health Complex that was set on fire Sept. 18, 2019 by a male youth who confessed to being responsible. He was sentenced in High Prairie youth court Nov. 10.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

A male youth who admitted to starting a fire at the old High Prairie hospital in September 2019 is required to work as he faces the consequences.

The youth, who cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, was sentenced to probation for 18 months after pleading guilty to one count of arson in a sentencing hearing in High Prairie youth court Nov. 10.

He was also ordered to complete 200 hours of community service during his probation.

The sentencing was a joint submission by Crown prosecutor Petter Hurich and lawyer Olivia Manzer, to which Judge G.W. Paul agreed.

The teen was 15 when he was charged by High Prairie RCMP in connection with a fire Sept. 18, 2019 in the old High Prairie Health Complex.

Judge also ordered the youth to be at home during a curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

The Crown said the youth admitted to setting the fire himself.

“He made a statement at a school that he started a fire,” Hurich said when the matter was in youth court on Jan. 30.

“He made a statement that he was responsible for the fire at the old hospital.”

Surveillance cameras also show two suspects on the scene at the time of the incident.

A co-accused male, 15, was sentenced during summary disposition in Grande Prairie youth court Dec. 18, 2019, although no details are available.

High Prairie fire chief Trevor Cisaroski estimated damage at $250,000 when the story was first reported in South Peace News Sept. 25, 2019.

Firefighters responded to a fire in the old health complex around 1:50 p.m.

The building has been vacant since the new High Prairie Health Complex on the east side town opened in April 2017.

Sentencing was postponed from Jan. 30 when Judge R.B. Marceau asked for information about the cost of damage and how the fire started at the old health complex.

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