Perry Man arrested for setting school on fire days before new school year
An administrator for the school said the offices were destroyed and will have to be rebuilt.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A man in Perry has been arrested after allegedly setting a school on fire just days before the new school year. An administrator for the school said the offices were destroyed and will have to be rebuilt.
34-year-old Joshua James Gipson, of Perry, was arrested Thursday morning by members of the Perry Police Department. Court records show he is faced with charges of arson, criminal mischief resulting in property damage to a religious building, burglary, and larceny. As of Friday night, he was booked at the Taylor County Jail with a bond set at $35,000.
According to Randy Maubach, an administrator for Point of Grace Christian School, the incident destroyed all the furniture and equipment in the main office and destroyed or heavily damaged three additional offices.
“He had set two fires in the office building. He set fire and destroyed the school bus and tried to burn a tractor and privately owned vehicle,” said Maubach in an emailed statement. “If it had not been for a teacher arriving early and within the hour of him setting the fires, it could have been much worse.”
Maubach said the damage constitutes a complete “rip-out” of the offices, which will need to then be rebuilt. In the meantime, staff is working to relocate the main office, guidance counselor, administrator’s office, and copier room to areas within existing buildings on campus while the damage is repaired.
Orientation for the school was postponed from Thursday night until Tuesday, Aug. 9 from 6-8 p.m. The new school year will commence as planned on Wednesday, Aug. 10, said Maubach.
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