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Teen charged with arson in fireworks fire

A Medford teen is facing felony charges for allegedly putting a firework in an outdoor vending machine and lighting it, leading to a fire in which the vending machine was completely engulfed in flames.Corey James Timberlake, 19, of the 700 block of Palm Street pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of second-degree arson and first-degree criminal mischief.He has a pre-trial conference hearing scheduled for Sept. 24 in Jackson County Circuit Court.According to a probable cause affidavit by Medford police, a surveillance camera captured video of eight people coming onto a parking lot at the Rogue Valley Family YMCA on West Sixth Street in Medford at about 3:04 a.m. July 27.The group was hanging out by outdoor vending machines and lighting fireworks, the affidavit said.At 3:56 a.m., a Medford police officer arrived at the YMCA and found a soda vending machine fully engulfed in fire, the affidavit said. An investigation led police to interview Timberlake, who was arrested two days after the fire.“Timberlake admitted that he put a firework in the bottle drop of the machine and lit it,” the affidavit said.The teen said he watched the firework go off and thought it was out. The group then left the area, the affidavit said.In addition to destroying the vending machine, the fire damaged the YMCA building, according to an indictment.A YMCA staff member said Thursday two vending machines were damaged by the fire and were not replaced. Only charring on the sidewalk marks where the machines once stood.A search of circuit court records throughout Oregon does not reveal any other criminal cases involving Timberlake.Reach Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.