Two recent incidents of arson under investigation

Ian Benson

News Editor

Early April 7, a fire was discovered at the Gault Admissions Center, damaging the front doors of the building. This was the second incident in little over a week, with a fire started near Kauke Hall early March 30.

The Kauke fire was reported by the custodial staff and the Admissions Center fire set off the alarm. In both cases, members of the College’s Security and Protective Services extinguished the flames. Both incidents caused minimal damage.

Also on March 30, two fires were set in the backyards of private homes around the city of Wooster. The incidents are currently under investigation by the Wooster Police Department and the State Fire Marshall, with the College cooperating in the process.

“Once someone starts burning things and destroying property, that crosses a line,” said Director of Security and Protective Services Steven Glick.

“Arsons are always tough,” Glick said. “They’re just about as bad as burglaries and have a very low clearance rate. There’s usually technical stuff that goes with them, but the investigations tend to take a while.”

This is not the first time the College has dealt with arson, though it is the first time in recent memory they have involved buildings. A few years ago, a series of dumpster fires were started, one case being close to a building. “Some think fires like that are fun to burn, but they’re pretty serious,” Glick said. “The buildings are brick but the roofs aren’t and if the wind catches things, then there’s a serious problem. That’s why we have to go through a whole permit process for the bonfires we have, to make sure they’re controlled.”

Security and Protective Services is asking for information regarding both incidents, though they expect there to be more information about the Admissions fire. “Considering the time and location of the Kauke fire, no one might have seen that,” Glick said. “But over at Admissions, it’s a high traffic area with people coming and going from parties. Somebody might have seen someone or something and didn’t realize the connection.”

“Unless the person that did this hit it at exactly the right time, someone saw them,” Glick said. Also, Glick emphasized that students should keep an ear out for any information that might be related to the fires. “Somebody beyond the person who did this probably knows it. A student might overhear a conversation someplace or might think back to one of those two evenings and remember someone standing around there. It may be nothing more than a general description, but that is something.”

To report any information about either incident, please contact Security and Protective Services at x2590.