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Foster Arson

January 5, 2012 permalink

When an eight-year-old Virginia foster boy was unhappy with his placement in the home of Dan and Lana Coalson, he found the sure way out — Burn their house down. That's not the way the newspaper reported it, but could be the way the child thinks.



Blaze leaves Glade Spring family homeless

Glade Spring house fire declared 'incendiary' in nature

Washington County, Va. --

home of Dan and Lana Coalson
The three story brick home on Faris Drive in Washington County, Va., was destroyed by fire last week.

An 8-year-old foster child who had been with the family for only a couple of days could face arson charges stemming from a fire that destroyed a home in Glade Spring, Va., last week.

The fire was in an historic 1832 home from which two adopted children, a caretaker and a foster child escaped unharmed.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office investigated the fire and concluded that it started in the living room closet, where blankets and other bedding were stored. The agency determined the fire was “incendiary in nature” and is talking with the Washington County commonwealth’s attorney to determine if charges are warranted, according to Sheriff Fred Newman.

He said the foster child is the one who could be charged, but he would not release any other information about the juvenile.

“It’s obviously an arson charge,” Newman said.

The house on Faris Drive was home to a large, extended family. Dan and Lana Coalson both have adult children from previous relationships and began taking in foster children 15 years ago. The couple has adopted 10 children ranging in age from 14 to 26 and is close to adopting an eleventh child.

“We do therapeutic foster care,” Lana Coalson said. “We do the really tough cases, because we are really good at our job.”

She said they have had some problems with foster children in the past but the incidents were no worse than any other young children. She said the foster child is 8 years old and had only been with the family for a couple of days.

He was taken away from the family after the fire.

“We didn’t even get the chance to work with the little boy,” she said.

For now, the family members are staying in a missionary house, which has separate wings with bunk beds for men and women. They are looking for permanent housing and plan to build a new home with the insurance money from the destroyed house.

Lana Coalson said she is thankful that no one was injured and the family is living under one roof.

“It’s hard to be a family when you are not together,” she said.

She added that she and her husband have no plans to stop taking in foster children. They work hard to give the children better lives and will not let one incident get in the way.

“It’s really important to champion those kids when no one else will champion them,” she said.

An emergency fund has been set up in the Coalson’s name at Sun Trust Bank in Chilhowie, Va.

Source: Bristol Herald Courier

Addendum: In later news, the boy has been charged with a felony. In the best interest of the child.

juvenile arson