A house that is supposed to be a safe haven for girls, turned out to be a target for two boys.
Authorities say the two juveniles are now charged with arson after setting fire to a house with ten young girls sleeping inside.
The fire took at place shortly after 2 a.m. in the 400 block of West Burleson Street in Marshall at the East Texas Open Door house. The occupants of the home were all able to safely evacuate with no injuries.
"They first started throwing rocks at the window and they actually broke out a window in the back. Then they came around here and threw gasoline all up on the door and on here and lit it," said Laura Russell, the Administrator at East Texas Open Door.
Thanks to an overnight staff member and working fire alarms, all the girls safely escaped the fire.
"The night staff was here and she heard the fire," said Russell. "Then the fire alarm went off and so she immediately got all the girls up. The house was already full of smoke at the time she said and so they got down and came down the stairs. They could see the smoke in the living room area so they went out the back door. They ran to the front of the house, saw the fire and called the fire department."
Police responded first and were able to put out the majority of the fire with a fire extinguisher. The Marshall Fire Department arrived shortly after to take care of the remains.
"The only thing damaged was our front door and one room upstairs. It is not a bedroom, it's a storage room," said Russell.
Police found both of the boys at the scene who said they were there to save the girls.
They were taken to Willoughby Juvenile Detention Center after police smelled what they believed was gasoline on the boys.
Folks at East Texas Open Door tell us this was not their first altercation with the boys.
"We know they had been actually kind of harassing and done some small vandalism. We had actually put a C.T. on these boys, a criminal trespassing, so they shouldn't have even been on our property," said Russell.
The investigation into this arson case is still on going. The names of the boys will not be released because they are minors.
The girls are currently staying at a home across the street until the damage to the house is repaired.
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