PS 29 vandals surrender claiming ‘YouTube accident’

Torched! PS 29’s new gym equipment is set ablaze
Photo by Tom Callan

They wanted to slide through a burning ring of fire.

That’s the hare-brained explanation given to cops by the four socially distorted teens that ignited play equipment at PS 29 in Cobble Hill last Sunday, creating a firestorm of concern — and controversy.

“They set out to make a YouTube video, but the fire became too great for them,” said Fire Department spokesman Jim Long, who said the foolhardy foursome used rubbing alcohol to fuel the blaze, which quickly got out of hand.

“The video was going to be about them going through the fire,” he explained.

Instead, two of the teens — 16-year-olds Bairn Sweeney and Max Layton — went through central booking on Tuesday, after turning themselves in at the 76th Precinct stationhouse on Union Street.

Both will be charged as adults with a bevy of charges, including criminal mischief and arson, Long said.

Two others will be charged as minors, he added.

Calls to Layton’s parents were unreturned at press time. His father is Charles Layton, the president of Canada-based Alliance Films, which distributed films such as Oscar-winner “The King’s Speech.”

Fire officials said they were quickly closing in on the teens, and were unimpressed that they came forward over a week after the blaze.

“They didn’t initially come forward. They were instructed to surrender — or else we were coming to get them,” Long said.

Before the industrial stink of burned plastic faded from the well-appointed block of Henry Street near Kane Street, parents were pooling their ample resources and calling criminal defense lawyer Sam Gregory who helped set up a $50,000 account to cover the damage done by their offspring.

That galled neighbors such as Stephen Negrycz. “I don’t think it’s right to buy your kids out,” he said.