File photo by Marvin Hamilton
File photo by Marvin Hamilton

A 17-year-old girl is in police custody after she started a fire that destroyed part of a child support centre in Northern Trinidad early on Thursday morning.

Police said a security guard assigned to the centre was on duty at around 1.30 am when he saw the girl acting violently, destroying items in the front office.

She pulled out some exposed electrical wiring, which caused sparks and started a fire.

The security guard tried to extinguish the fire with an extinguisher but was unsuccessful. He then called staff, who evacuated 18 girls who were staying at the centre, while calling the fire service.

Officers from the Wrightson Road and Arima fire stations put out the blaze.

Police detained the girl.

None of the staff or girls were injured. They were temporarily transferred to another home.

A media release from the Children’s Authority confirmed the girls were transferred to another location but said the fire was “of unknown origin.”

The release also reported that the top floor of the two-storey building was damaged.

The authority added that the relatives of the children were told of the incident and the children are being counselled.