The November 26th fire that destroyed Wildcliff, one of New Rochelle’s most historic buildings, was a case of arson, say New Rochelle Police.
Four 13-year-old students from Isaac Middle School were arrested and charged as juvenile delinquents. Three were charged with Criminal Trespass 3rd Degree (Class B Misdemeanor) and one youth has been charged with Criminal Trespass 3rd Degree and Arson 4th Degree (Class E Felony).
Talk of the Sound reported a few days after the crime that four young kids were observed on the Wildcliff Property about an hour before the New Rochelle Fire Department received a call of a fully engaged fire at the historical residence at 4:25 p.m. (November 26.) This according to a United States Postal Service mail carrier whose delivery route includes Wildcliff Road.
In an exclusive interview with Talk of the Sound, ‘Jacobs’ said he saw four young kids playing on the property between 3:15 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Another witness, a woman who works at a business near Wildcliff Road, said she sees the same four kids there all the time — one black, two hispanic and one white. She did not see those four kids on the property Monday.
Asked how he could be so sure of the time, Jacobs said he delivered the mail along that route at the same time every day.”
Because of the age of the defendants, police will provide no further information.
This historic home was donated to New Rochelle in 1940. This gift has been wasted and the outcome is a travesty for this site on the National Registry. Much of the almost 80 years that it has been owned by the city of New Rochelle it has sat unused and/or unappreciated and not well taken care of by the city. Had this historic home been well utilized by the city, the likelihood of having 4 youngsters destroy it by arson would have been much lower. To give the arsonists a pass and have virtually no consequences for the irreversible loss that they caused is adding insult to injury!! The city and leaders of New Rochelle should be ashamed.