The investigation into a garage fire in Battle Creek has now led to allegations of rape against three young boys.

The Battle Creek Police Department first became involved in the case after a garage on Wabash St. caught fire in early June; four boys came forward to police and told them they had accidentally sparked the blaze while smoking marijuana in the vacant unit.

The boys had said they dropped embers onto a mattress, which caught the mattress on fire; they then dumped a bucket of what they thought was water onto it, but it instead turned out to be gasoline, making the problem worse.

However, the investigation has turned up a more sinister story; police say that three boys aged 11, 12, and 13 had been repeatedly sexually assaulting a 6 year old boy and an 8 year old boy in the garage. The victims eventually told their mother about the assaults June 12, after the fire, and they say they were held down and raped several times in that garage over a month.

The BCPD says that the cause of the fire, and whether or not it was an intentional fire, remains under investigation.

The three accused have now been taken into custody in the Calhoun County juvenile home on criminal sexual conduct charges.

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