Surveillance footage shows three teenagers suspected of starting a fire July 6 at the North Medford High School football field. [Image from Medford Police]

Police seek juveniles suspected of burning football field

Three teenage boys are suspected of starting a fire on the North Medford High School football field last week that caused thousands of dollars in damage to the artificial turf.

Now Medford police are looking to the public for help in tracking them down. Their identities are unknown but, based on a security video, police are confident they are boys.

The incident happened in the early-morning hours of Thursday, July 6. Later that morning, school officials found a 20-square-foot section of the field's artificial turf had been damaged.

According to Medford School District spokeswoman Natalie Hurd, four or five spots within that area were damaged by the flames.

The fire caused as much as $10,000 in damage, according to Medford police Lt. Kerry Curtis. An assessment on the exact dollar amount is a few weeks out.

"We put a lot of work and funds into making our facilities look good and be functional for students and stuff," Hurd said. "It’s disheartening when people take advantage of that."

The boys could be charged with first-degree criminal mischief, a felony, depending on the damage amount, Curtis said.

How the fire started is not clear, though a surveillance video showed it roaring to life with the boys nearby, police said.

"It’s too dark where (the teens) are at to see how it was started, but you can see it flare up," Curtis said.

A school security camera caught the three males walking on the campus at 1:22 a.m. In the video, the males appear to be peering through a fence and some scaffolding at some unseen activity, pointing and smiling as they walk past.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call school resource officer Mark Patterson at 541-618-1885 or Medford police at 541-770-4784. Messages can also be left on the MPD Facebook page at

— Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or Follow him at

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