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A third student is charged in fire at Nicholas Co. teacher's house

Three teenagers have been charged in connection with a fire that gutted the house of a Nicholas County High School teacher early Thursday.

"It was a childhood prank that went bad," said Nicholas County Sheriff Dick Garrett.

Garrett Young, 18, of Mount Olivet, was charged with third-degree arson and criminal mischief, Kentucky State Police said. Both charges are felonies punishable by one to five years in prison.

Jordan Stewart, 18, of Carlisle, was charged with one count of criminal trespass, a violation punishable by a fine.

Garrett said a 17-year-old boy was charged with criminal trespass, a misdemeanor.

A juvenile female who was at the scene but who did not get out of a vehicle was not charged, Garrett said.

Garrett said the teens are students at the high school.

Hank Bond, spokesman for Nicholas County Schools, said the district has been made aware of the situation and will cooperate with law enforcement. Bond said he could not comment on any further action that might or might not be taken.

Stewart, who was issued a citation, and Young could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.

Nicholas County Fire Chief Mark Hughes said a kind of fireworks known as a "cake" was put on the porch of Dreama Griffith's house on Walnut Grove Road, near the Nicholas-Bourbon county line.

Cake fireworks are more complex than smaller fireworks such as Roman candles and bottle rockets.

Garrett was called to the house shortly after 11 p.m. Wednesday. The fireworks had damaged the soffit on the porch, but it didn't appear to be burning or smoking, Garrett said.

But then firefighters were called to the house shortly after 2:30 a.m. Thursday, Hughes said. By that time, the fire was "fully involved," he said.

Apparently, sparks from the earlier fireworks explosion had gone through the eaves of the roof and into the attic, where insulation smoldered and caused the fire to spread, Hughes said. "All that's left are the brick walls," Hughes said.

Griffith, who teaches English at the high school, got out of the house uninjured. Firefighters were able to rescue her two cats, which were hiding beneath a bed, Hughes said.

Garrett said Griffith is staying with her parents.

Young was released from the Montgomery County jail on a $5,000 full cash bond. He is scheduled to appear in court April 8.

Bond and court information for Stewart was not immediately available Thursday.

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