Sweetwater Police say they are charging a juvenile with starting the fire that destroyed a Gault Avenue home on Saturday afternoon.
Gault Avenue is located in a subdivision just off Highway 11 in north Sweetwater.
According to a Sweetwater Police Department press release, shortly after 1 p.m., officers and firefighters were dispatched to a house fire.
Sgt. John Brewster and Officer James Willett were first on scene and reported that black smoke was boiling out of the residence. One onlooker was attempting to put the fire out with a garden hose.
Neighbors and others present told the officers there were still residents and their pets inside. Brewster and Willett quickly entered the house and assisted everyone from the house, the press release said. One elderly resident was assisted to a waiting ambulance and she was treated at the scene. No injuries were reported.
The Sweetwater Fire Department, assisted by Christianburg and North Monroe Fire Department, fought the fire that broke through the roof of the house. The house was deemed a total loss due to the extent of the blaze.
After the fire was out, Fire Department investigators said they were able to locate a suspicious point of origin and reported it to SPD investigators.
Sweetwater Police Sgt. Daniel Johnson then spoke to all the occupants of the house. According to SPD, he was able to determine that the fire had been started by a juvenile who lives at that residence. Johnson contacted Monroe County Juvenile Services and the juvenile judge about the incident.
Detective Kevin Watson said on Tuesday he would charge the youth with aggravated arson.
Sweetwater Police Chief Eddie Byrum expressed his thanks to all involved.
“Because our officers quickly evacuated both the persons and the pets from the home, no one was injured,” he said. “We are thankful that no first responders were injured either. And with the officers and the firefighters working together, the cause of the fire was determined and charges will be brought against the responsible juvenile.”
The Red Cross came to scene and is providing lodging, food and clothing to the family.