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Teens using body spray as flame-thrower

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By AJ Vicens

West Metro Fire Rescue officials say they're seeing a disturbing trend among area kids who are using Axe body spray as a flame-thrower.

"Nearly a dozen young people are facing a range of charges after using the popular teenage cologne to set things on fire, including themselves," said Cindy Matthews, a spokeswoman for West Metro Fire Rescue. "Recently, several young people have been investigated by fire officials after lighting classmates' clothing on fire and using it as a flame-thrower to ignite other items. In one instance, bushes next to an apartment caught fire and spread to the building."

Matthews said West Metro is reaching out to area schools, urging principals and school resource officers talk to students about the dangers of using the Axe container as a flame-thrower.

"The trend of using an aerosol can to make a flame-thrower is nothing new," Matthews said. "What's new is the popularity of Axe body spray and the prevalence of YouTube videos."

Melissa Reeves, a spokeswoman for Jeffco Public Schools, said the district is aware of the problem and is coordinating contacts among West Metro and individual schools to discuss ways to prevent fires.

"We'll be meeting with the schools (soon)," Matthews said, "just to talk about the changing trends in juvenile fire setting and what West Metro can do to offer education."

Matthews said West Metro would rather offer education than have to file arson charges against kids.

"We don't want to arrest and lock kids up," Matthews said. "That's not what we want to do."

Contact AJ Vicens at aj@evergreenco.com, and check www.columbinecourier.com for updates and breaking news.