Teens Arrested for Stunt Gone Awry in Brooklyn Fire

Burned Cobble Hill Playground

Four Brooklyn youths have been arrested and charged with felony arson, criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and trespassing in a film shoot which got out of control.

Out of Control

The boys, including five others who have not been detained, were trying to film a video for YouTube, the social media internet video site, based on the film “Jackass.” The boys were using the playground at P.S. 29 on Henry Street in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn as the location of their film. The trouble began when they set fire to the slide, and the fire got out of control.

“They poured rubbing alcohol down the slide. One of the kids was going to slide down the slide – I guess while on fire,” said Fire Department Chief Fire Marshal Robert Byrnes.

Emulating Jackass

The boys were modeling their movie after “Jackass” which has become a successful franchise of comedic, documentary-style films in which actors do insane stunts that often lead to injuries which are caught on-camera.

The incident occurred on May 8 and caused about $50,000 worth of damage to the school’s outdoor safety play mats, slide and jungle gym.

Of the nine teens that were present at the fire, four are students at the private St. Ann’s School in Brooklyn Heights where tuition is close to $28,000 annually.

Turned Himself In to Police

One boy turned himself in to police yesterday. He is 16 year-old Max Layton the son of the film executive Charles Layton, the distributor of the award winning “The King’s Speech” in Canada. Layton is also a student at St. Ann’s.

“I’m absolutely shocked that this happened,” said Layton’s mother, Ursula Alexander, who lives with her son in Cobble Hill. “It’s just horrifying that this happened.”
Students at St. Ann’s were also surprised when they heard about the incident and that Layton was involved.

“[Max Layton] is not that kind of guy – this doesn’t seem like something he’d do,” said one of Layton’s classmates.

Parents Paid Damages

Sam Gregory, lawyer for Layton, collected $50,000 from the parents of the children who were involved in the fire to pay for the damages their children caused to the school’s playground.

“The first thing these people [the Laytons] wanted to do was to make sure the kids at P.S. 29 had a new playground,” said Gregory.


Shari has certainly been around the block. As a teacher, writer, former CEO and present day master chef, Shari can cover a human interest story with a flare and style hard to match anywhere. Born and raised in the streets, schools and institutions of Brooklyn, Shari is the epitome of Brooklyn life. Contact Shari at shari(at)