Juvenile charged with arson in youth shelter blaze

A juvenile is facing charges for a fire that blazed through a youth shelter this weekend in Gastonia.

Firefighters battled the intense flames fueled by high winds on Sunday at Friends Incorporated on Keith Drive. The shelter was occupied by four children at the time and managed to escape unharmed. They were asleep at the time and all of their belonging were destroyed.

Neighbors watched in horror as the flames shot above the trees fearing the fire would spread.

At least a dozen children were evacuated across the parking lot while firefighters worked to gain control. The Red Cross responded as well to provide counseling.

The shelter serves children from 10 to 17 across seven counties. Additional beds are being added to the emergency shelter to accommodate those whose home went up in flames as a temporary fix.