Four Idaho students have been accused of setting their principal’s house on fire after being suspended from school

PicturePrincipal Mark Heleker outside his burned down home in Payette, Idaho. Photo courtesy of KTVB 7 NEWSPolice say four students in Payette, Idaho set their principal’s house ablaze and stole items out of parked cars in the driveway as a way to get revenge for being suspended the week before.
​ Payette Police Chief Mark Clark said,
“It appears to be some retaliation against the principal for a couple of them being suspended for the week prior.”

Payette High School Principal Mark Heleker, his wife and their 24-year-old daughter managed to escape with their pets after the fire started in the early morning hours of February 22nd. The fire ruined the Heleker’s home and destroyed three family member’s cars that were parked in the driveway.

Heleker’s daughter Katie, saw the fire coming from the garage while taking her dog out for a walk. She quickly ran back in the house to wake the family up, Heleker told local media.

The fire was deemed suspicious from the beginning after Heleker’s son, who was away at college, was made aware of some disturbing comments about the fire on social media from students. He then notified fire officials. The most damning evidence against the four boys came from multiple Snapchat messages, where they made statements bragging about the fire that included flame emojis.

“That’s where we started,” Chief Clark said referring to social media. “Then we were receiving information from other students about particular students bragging about the fire.” The three high schoolers and one middle schooler, all minors, are facing felony charges. The police chief said on Tuesday that he had asked for a judge to issue a warrant for their arrest. Those warrants were issued on Wednesday and they are currently now in custody.

Heleker’s family is currently staying in a nearby hotel and borrowing cars from friends and family. Payette High Schools students have also shown an amazing amount of support for their principle. They created a GoFundMe page for the Heleker family with the goal of raising $2,000.PicturePhoto courtesy of the Idaho Statesman.PicturePhoto courtesy of KTVB 7 NEWS

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