2 teens charged with arson in fire that leveled Palmyra laundromat

PALMYRA, N.Y. (WHEC) — Two juveniles have now been arrested and charged with arson for the fire that flattened a Palmyra laundromat.

New York State Police report a 13-year-old and a 14-year-old were arrested on Thursday.

"It was just a raging inferno” said Mike Dunn at the Alling Coverlet museum right next door, who shot video when the Palmyra Coin Op Laundry burned only a few feet away on Wednesday morning.

He said firefighters had to keep putting down hot spots until early evening.

"That’s all you would see from here was the roof,” Dunn sighed, looking off the museum roof at the ruins. “And now it’s nothing.”

At this point, all that’s left at the scene is scorched wreckage and mangled machinery, scattered pieces of washing machines and columns of blackened dryers. The owner of the laundromat wasn’t interested in being interviewed but he says this is a big loss to the community that he’s been talking with insurance adjusters about, for one thing, demolishing what’s left. He also says it broke his heart to learn two young teenagers have been arrested and charged for the fire.

Mark O’Donnell with the New York State Police explained "the owner of the Palmyra coin op laundry had contact with two juveniles that were monkeying around his building. A short time later, he discovered a fire.”

State police investigators responded at the scene and tracked down a 13 and 14-year-old.

They were arrested and charged with fourth degree arson, a felony.

"I would say, within 10 minutes, the whole building was just up in smoke and engulfed. It was very scary,” recalled Tracy Murphy, Director of Historic Palmyra which runs the museum next door.

At the museum, plans are getting started to repair fire damage but also deal with extensive smoke contamination to its historic displays of coverlets, blankets and other treasures some close to 200 years old.

With this raging fire just a few feet away, Leaders of Historic Palmyra say their precious collection might have been incinerated, if not for a decision 20 years ago when the museum bricked up half a dozen big windows that faced the laundromat out of concern about fires at the laundromat.

The two young suspects were given appearance tickets and their case turned over to Wayne County probation and Wayne County Family Court.