Two juveniles arrested for Millbrae Community Center fire

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Police say that a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old were arrested after confessing to starting the fire that destroyed the Millbrae Community Center last week. (KGO-TV)

The San Mateo County Sheriff's Department says both social media and a confession played a role in the arrest of two juveniles in the investigation of a fire at the Millbrae Community Center.

RELATED: Crews investigate after Millbrae Community Center destroyed by 4-alarm fire

Investigators have determined that the early morning fire started Thursday outside the community center building and they say it wasn't an intentional fire. Instead, they say the teenagers were negligent, suggesting that perhaps they were smoking or playing with fire.

"During the interview, they acknowledged to the incident and gave the detectives enough information where the detectives were comfortable placing them under arrest," San Mateo County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Salvador Zuno said.

The 16 and 17-year-old are at the San Mateo Youth Services Center. Investigators say social media played a role in finding them. "What I can say is, was there some evidence on social media that helped? Absolutely. But that's just one item in several items of evidence that detectives have," Zunol said.

The community center was a complete loss. Dozens of local organizations have used the center for years, including a summer day care center. Fortunately for parents and grandparents like Rose Marie Mirando, another center has opened its doors to the children. "Those two little guys went in there and doesn't matter to them, they're just busy playing basketball already," she said, referring to two little boys.

Her husband was sorry to hear those responsible were teens. "I feel sorry for their parents. I feel sorry for them," he said.

Multiple agencies have been meeting at City Hall to try and find spaces for all the organizations that were displaced. "We've had an opportunity to join forces and we're going to get through this. So, the loss is the building," Millbrae Mayor Anne Oliva said.

The city says that once things settle down in early August, they will start talking about rebuilding.

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building firefireinvestigationarson investigationMillbrae
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