NORFOLK, Va. — A 13-year-old boy with special needs started a fire last year that severely damaged two Virginia Beach homes and killed multiple cats, according to court documents.

His neighbor’s insurance company now wants the boy’s parents to pay up.

American Strategic Insurance Corp. filed a lawsuit last week against Kimberly and Edward Jenkins, claiming the couple didn’t do enough to prevent the April 5, 2018, fire.

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Attorneys for the insurance company did not respond to requests for comment on the lawsuit, which seeks $199,781.12, plus interest and costs. The parents could not be reached for comment.

According to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Norfolk, the fire was discovered at about 3:15 p.m. between two houses in the 500 block of Grant Avenue.

The Jenkins lived in one. Debbie and Danny Hansen owned the other.

Firefighters arrived on the scene about five minutes after receiving a 911 call, according to a department spokesman. Brisk winds at the time appear to have helped the fire spread quickly.

It took less than 30 minutes to get the two-alarm fire under control, but the blaze still resulted in significant damage to both homes. Three cats died and a fourth ran away, a resident of the Hansen home said.

Fire marshals investigated the blaze and determined it was started by a child playing with fire. The investigation also revealed Kimberly Jenkins had found her son earlier in the day burning paper inside their home, the lawsuit said.

The boy was previously spotted standing in the yard near some smoke and flames, the lawsuit said. Edward Jenkins was informed of the incident later that day.

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