3 boys accused of setting Oregon ballpark fire get probation

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) Three boys accused of playing with fire and starting a massive blaze that destroyed a historic Oregon ballpark will spend up to five years on probation.

The boys reached settlements with prosecutors this week on charges of second-degree arson and recklessly endangering another person after the fire June 29 at Eugene's Civic Stadium, about 100 miles south of Portland, the Register-Guard reported (http://bit.ly/1j8zMJh ). Flames shooting high above the facility forced a two-block area to temporarily evacuate, but no one was hurt.

Investigators say three 12-year-olds and a 10-year-old were playing with fire and then ran away when the flames got out of control. The panicked boys jumped a chain-link fence as the fire spread and sped away on their bicycles. The case against a fourth boy charged in the blaze is ongoing.

The parents of a fifth boy who left before the fire tipped off police.

The three who were sentenced Tuesday acknowledged in court that they also set a trash bin on fire the day after the stadium blaze. In addition to supervised probation, the boys must also complete a fire safety course.

Judge Clara Rigmaiden noted that the boys are younger than most youth offenders in the juvenile system.

''These are very young offenders - we want everyone to understand that,'' Rigmaiden said.

The stadium was approved by voters in 1938 during the Great Depression and opened that same year. Labor was provided by the Works Progress Administration, and materials were donated by lumbermen in the area. The Eugene Emeralds, a minor league team, had been a long-time tenant, but vacated in 2009.

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Information from: The Register-Guard, http://www.registerguard.com

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