Student suspected of starting fire on school grounds

WALNUT RIDGE, AR (KAIT) - School officials say a fire started by a student severely damaged a building on campus.

Police and school officials say it happened last Thursday evening after the Walnut Ridge School District held its track and field day.

According to Superintendent Terry Belcher, the men's restroom in the concession stand building was left unlocked.

He said security footage shows two male students walk over to the restroom.

Belcher said police told him one of the students started the fire in a garbage can in the bathroom and it spread quickly.

Walnut Ridge Police and Fire Departments responded to the scene after someone called to report the fire.

When police arrived, one of those students came back to the scene to claim his cell phone and that's when police questioned both students.
Belcher said the school's track is a public area, but this incident did make the school take a closer look at safety precautions on campus.

"We've had some discussion about maybe locking it up, but we have people come and walk on the track and we have lights on the doors on the track so, the public can walk and do those kinds of things," he said.

Belcher said the public will still be welcome to use the track, but everyone should know there are surveillance cameras all around the campus.

The school is working with their insurance company on the restroom repairs, which will be complete before the next school year.

Belcher said they have not discussed consequences for those students, they plan to leave that up to the justice system.

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