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Teen pleads guilty to burglary, arson in massive Lockport fire


A 14-year-old boy has pleaded guilty in Niagara County Family Court as part of a plea deal related to a massive recycling plant fire in Lockport that killed his teenage friend.

The 14-year-old is not being named due to his age. He pleaded guilty to third-degree burglary and fourth-degree arson in connection with a massive fire last August at that killed his friend, 14-year-old Joseph Phillips.

Phillips was reported missing shortly after flames broke out at High Tread International. The fire continued for several more days, burning a large supply of crumb rubber inside the large facility and some asbestos in older buildings. Phillips' body was found in the early evening of August 12.

The unnamed 14-year-old in court Thursday was originally accused of criminally negligent homicide and nine other charges, which were dismissed in exchange for the burglary and arson charges.

The teen is expected to be back in court Friday morning, when more surveillance video from the fire will be reviewed.

Mark Wozniak, WBFO's local All Things Considered host, has been at WBFO since mid-1978.
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