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Two teen boys charged in arson fire that destroyed former Just For Fun Roller Rink in McHenry

Firefighters work to contain a large structure fire at 914 North Front Street in McHenry Thursday evening. | Photo: Tyler Tobolt / Tri-State – USFiR Photography.

Police say an anonymous tip led to the arrests of two 14-year-old boys, one of which allegedly started a fire that destroyed the former Just For Fun Roller Rink in McHenry.

The two juvenile suspects are 14-year-olds who reside in McHenry, according to McHenry Deputy Police Chief Thomas Walsh.

One of the two boys was charged with one count of arson, a Class 2 felony, burglary, a Class 2 felony, and criminal damage to property, a Class 4 felony.

The second boy was charged with one count of criminal trespass to property, a Class B misdemeanor.

Walsh said that investigators determined the two teens were trespassing at the vacant building of the Just For Fun Roller Rink, 914 North Front Street in McHenry, around 10:25 p.m. Thursday.

Firefighters work to contain a large structure fire at 914 North Front Street in McHenry Thursday evening. | Photo: Tyler Tobolt / Tri-State – USFiR Photography.

One of the boys lit an object on fire which quickly spread out of control, Walsh said. The two teens fled the scene and were seen in the area by a passerby.

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Walsh said that an anonymous tip to police detectives led to the two suspects being identified.

The teens were arrested without incident and transported to the McHenry Police Department where they were processed.

The teens have since been released to their parents after being petitioned to the 22nd Judicial Circuit’s Juvenile Court system.

McHenry Police Department Public Affairs Officer Michael Spohn said on Friday that several people driving by saw the building fire and called 911.

Firefighters arrived to find the large vacant commercial building heavily engulfed in flames, according to McHenry Fire Battalion Chief David Harwood.

The building is where the Just For Fun Roller Rink was located until it permanently closed in the fall of 2020.

The Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS) was activated to the third alarm level for additional firefighters and equipment.

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Harwood said that firefighters began a defensive fire attack by applying water to the building using deck guns on several fire engines, the aerial devices on three ladder trucks, and several large diameter hose lines.

Firefighters work to contain a large structure fire at 914 North Front Street in McHenry Thursday evening. | Photo: Tyler Tobolt / Tri-State – USFiR Photography.

High winds out of the north hampered firefighting efforts by fueling the fire, Harwood said.

The fire was mostly extinguished by around 3:30 a.m. Friday. No injuries were reported.

Police closed Route 31 in front of the business until around 6:20 a.m. Friday, Spohn said.

The McHenry Fire Protection District was assisted by 17 other fire departments at the scene and to cover calls in McHenry.

Harwood said the building was a total loss and collapsed. A damage estimate was not available. Accelerant detection canines were seen at the scene Thursday evening sniffing the area.

The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal, McHenry Police Department and McHenry Township Fire Protection District is investigating the fire.