08/27/2014 03:09 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Notorious Serial Arsonist Is 11-Year-Old: Fire Chief

A string of arsons lighting up a Michigan town are allegedly the work of an 11-year-old and his friends.

David Cox, fire chief for the town of Flint, said he caught the young boy after a fire was started last Wednesday, Michigan Live reported. Cox said the most recent arson was just one of many caused by the child.

"The dude is a terror," Cox told the publication.

As arsons popped up around town, neighbors began reporting that a boy and his friends were often seen running from the scene moments after the fires, getting away before authorities could arrive.

"This has been going on for months," Cox said. "They have been having their way all summer. These kids were so tough -- they had pit bulls at [an abandoned] house they had access to."

The fire chief said the 11-year-old may have been influenced by older teens who think lighting fires is "cool."

According to a separate Michigan Live report, there were 1,631 fires at abandoned homes and buildings in Flint from 2008-2012.

Investigators believe the 11-year-old is responsible for at least three arsons.

"The whole neighborhood knew [the children were responsible]," Cox said. "When I chased him [down], five or six neighbors came out and cheered."

The child was released to his mother as authorities continue their investigation.

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