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Two teens charged with lighting fireworks at Pasco homes

TBO.com
Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 08:16 PM

Two teens responsible for setting off fireworks at the front doors of two homes in Pasco County on July 4 turned themselves in on Monday, deputies said.

Juan Gomez and Tanner McGuire, both 15 and both of Land O' Lakes, were charged with first-degree arson after one of the homes caught fire, causing about $5,000 worth of damage.

Pasco deputies released video from a home security camera, which showed a man lighting a firework, running to a waiting, silver Dodge Neon and then speeding off.

The teens became aware of the video through media reports and turned themselves in, deputies said.

The first incident happened sometime between 9:30 p.m. and 9:40 p.m. inside the Ballantrae subdivision in Land O' Lakes. One of the teens lit a firework and leaned it against the front door at a home at 17514 Glenapp Drive, deputies said.

The firework started a fire, which spread to the top of the door, around the frame and started to get into the attic, a Pasco firefighter said.

William Bagley, who was house-sitting for the homeowners, smelled smoke, and went to the rear of the house to check for flames. Nothing was found in the back, but when he looked out the front door, a small fire forced him to use wet towels and water from the kitchen to douse the fire.

"What if I'd been asleep?" Bagley said. "I usually go to work at 4 or 5 in the morning so on a normal day, I would've been in bed by 8:30 and I never would've heard anything. Maybe not have even woken up from the smoke."

The flames caused $5,000 worth of damage to the house and an adjacent car, deputies said.

Less than half a mile down the road, someone showed up at the doorstep of 17728 Glenapp Drive at about 9:41 p.m. After lighting a firework, the person ran off. The incident was caught on video from a home security camera. Before the explosive ignited, the fuse went out.

No damage was reported at the second home.

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