13-year-old Accused of Starting Fires at Nellis Air Force Base Housing

Sign at the entrance of Nellis Air Force Base.
Sign at the entrance of Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. (Air Force photo)

A teenager was arrested over the weekend after being accused of setting four fires at military housing units at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Early in the morning on Saturday, July 30, base security forces rushed to the fires at Nellis Landings, the on-base housing complex. The fires were tamed quickly, but a pair of residents needed to be taken to the hospital as a result of one blaze.

"All fires were quickly extinguished and no significant damage occurred to three units," base spokesman Lt. Col. Bryon McGarry said in an emailed statement. "Residents of one housing unit were safely evacuated to a medical facility and treated for smoke inhalation."

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When the smoke cleared, a "civilian dependent" was taken into custody by the Las Vegas Metro Police Department, McGarry added.

Las Vegas Metro Police replied to an email from Military.com saying the suspect was a teenager.

"LVMPD responded to Nellis Air Force Base for a report of several buildings set on fire," an emailed statement from the local police said. "A 13-year-old female juvenile was taken into custody and booked into the Clark County Juvenile Detention Center."

Nellis authorities did not comment on the estimated damage to the housing facilities but said they were "fully cooperating with Las Vegas Metro police on the investigation."

The on-base fires are the latest example of criminal activity at the base's housing.

In June, Nellis leaders warned airmen about "pre-serial killer" activities at the Nevada base after four cats were found mutilated in recent months, leading security forces to start an investigation into the animal abuse.

The cats' bodies were discovered by housing maintenance workers.

"The only parts found have been the lower portion and the cuts have been clean indicating it is not a natural attack by a coyote or any other predator," a June email to base personnel said.

The reported arson, in combination with the cat killings, received intense scrutiny on Air Force amn/nco/snco Facebook -- a popular page where airmen often vent.

"Isn't this the same base that keeps finding dead mutilated cats by the gate?" one commenter wrote.

"So someone at Nellis is slicing cats in half, now arson?.....Related?" another commenter wrote.

The incidents do not appear to be related, and base officials said there have been no updates on the cat slayings.

"The investigation into the cat incident is also ongoing and we have no further information for you at this time," an emailed statement from Nellis to Military.com said.

-- Thomas Novelly can be reached at thomas.novelly@military.com. Follow him on Twitter @TomNovelly.

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