5 charged in Falls Township fireworks arson

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5 charged in Falls Township fireworks arson (WPVI)

Police have released new information about an arson that destroyed part of a home Falls Township last weekend.

A 23-year-old man and four teenagers are facing charges in connection with Saturday's incident in the 500 block of Stevens Road.

Police say the 23-year-old, Abraham Keita of Morrisville, threw a firework into the carport of the home, and it touched off a massive fire.

At a news conference Friday morning, police revealed the firework that touched off the inferno - described as a 'supercharged sparkler' - was stolen.

Investigators say Keita and four teens stole fireworks from a nearby food market earlier that evening.

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Man charged in fireworks arson: Matt O'Donnell reports during Action News at 6:30 a.m. on June 9, 2017.

As Keita and two of the teens were walking home from the store, police say, they started lighting off fireworks.

That's when Keita tossed one into the carport.
"This wasn't an accident, this wasn't a kid using them that burned himself on something that was legal. This was a malicious act that could have killed somebody," said Falls Twp. Fire Marshal Rich Dippolito.

The Nollie family was inside the home when the fire started.

"They don't know who was in this house, who was in here sleeping. You know, come on, really? What if I was asleep? I would have never made it out," said Lisa Nollie.

"I'm glad they caught them and I hope they get prosecuted because this is dangerous," said Riley Nollie. "This could have cost someone their life."

Keita has already been charged with arson and related offenses. The teenagers range in age from 12 to 16 years old and will be charged as juveniles.

Lt. Henry Ward of Falls Twp. Police say his department has zero tolerance for fireworks. He says with the 4th of July approaching, and after seeing the danger of fires caused by fireworks, officers will be cracking down.

There will be fines up to $1,000 per device for people caught using illegal fireworks.

"The illegal ones are basically mortars. If they land on top of a house in Levittown we're going to have a catastrophe," Ward said.

Police credit neighbors for helping them track down the group so fast.

Police say they will be contacting federal immigration authorities. They believe that Abraham Keita is a Liberian national who may be in this country illegally.

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pa. newsarsonfireworksFalls Township
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