Two Rickards High School Fires Declared Arson

By: Eyewitness News; Julie Montanaro Email
By: Eyewitness News; Julie Montanaro Email

UPDATED 10.2.2012 by Julie Montanaro

Someone set a fire in the bathroom at Rickards High School this morning. It turns out it is the second arson at the school in less than a week.

The fire alarm at Rickards High School went off Tuesday just minutes into the school day. Staff members grabbed a fire extinguisher and squelched a fire in the girls bathroom. It's the second time in less than a week students have been forced to evacuate.

"I think that takes away a lot of the learning time and the teaching time, so I just think they need to beef up security and add a little more time to what's going on around Rickards High School," said parent Cynthia Copeland.

Firefighters say this time someone set fire to a soap dispenser and a toilet paper dispenser.

It comes on the heels of a similar fire in a different girls bathroom Friday.

We weren't allowed on campus to see for ourselves, but a TFD spokesman tells us in both cases damage was minor.

Investigators with the fire department, police department and state fire marshal's office were all on scene Tuesday morning.

"No suspects at this time, but we do know the fires were intentionally set," said LT Graham Reid with the Tallahassee Fire Department. "Everything else is pretty much under investigation."

"Will the surveillance cameras here at the school be able to help you pinpoint a suspect?"

"No, ma'am. They will not. The surveillance cameras were unfortunately pointed in the opposite direction," Reid said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the state arson hotline. 1-877-NO-ARSON.

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Tallahassee, FL - October 2, 2012- 11:27 am by Julie Montanaro

The Tallahassee Fire Department says two fires at Rickards High School in the past week were both intentionally set.

The fire this morning was set set in a girls bathroom around 7:45am, TFD Spokesman Mike Bellamy said. The alarm did sound and students were evacuated.

School district spokesman Chris Petley says staff members put the fire out with a fire extinguisher.

An investigator with the state fire marshals office was on scene this morning too.

TFD says there was a fire set in another girls bathroom at about 10am on Friday. Someone set the toilet paper roll on fire.

Petley says district staff is reviewing school surveillance video to see if the culprit was caught on tape.

"It really takes away from their learning time," one parent said as she left the school.


Previous Story, October 1, 2012 - The second fire at Rickards High School in a week forced an evacuation for a time this morning.

Tallahassee firefighters say the small fire in the girls bathroom was probably intentionally set.

It was reported at about 7:45 this morning and no one was hurt.

There was another bathroom fire at the same school last week. TFD and the State Fire Marshal's Office are investigating.


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