Middle schoolers arrested in fire at historic mansion in New Rochelle

NEW ROCHELLE, Westchester County (WABC) -- Four middle school students have been arrested in connection with a fire at a vacant historic mansion in New Rochelle last month.

The flames broke out in the abandoned property on Wildcliff Road around 4:30 p.m. on Novebmer 26, at the site of an old mansion owned by the city that has been walled off for some time.

The investigation revealed the fire was suspicious in nature, and it was ultimately determined to be the result of arson.

Officials announced Wednesday that four 13-year-old children were arrested and charged as juvenile delinquents. They are all charged with third-degree criminal trespass, while one youth is also charged with fourth-degree arson.

Based on the age of the defendants, no further information will be provided.

Firefighters were able to prevent the fire from spreading, but they were unable to save the old stone mansion.

"It's an abandoned mansion, it's been abandoned for years," New Rochelle Fire Chief Andy Sandro said at the time. "The windows are boarded up and everything. I mean, the place is going to have to be razed."

New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson called it one of the city's significant historic properties. The mansion was built in 1855 and donated to the city in 1940.

After being used for city offices, the building housed a variety of not-for-profit groups and functions, including Wildcliff Natural Science Center, East Coast Performing Arts and Wildcliff Center for the Arts.

The city had plans to restore the building but had not started that project.

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