Student, 15, charged with setting fire in Rock Hill High bathroom

jmcfadden@heraldonline.comFebruary 19, 2014 

— A ninth-grade Rock Hill High School student has been arrested in connection with a fire set in one of the school's bathrooms on Tuesday.

Deputies on Wednesday afternoon arrested the teen, 15, and charged him with arson, said York County Sheriff's Office spokesman Trent Faris. His name was not released because he is a juvenile.

Authorities went to the school at about noon Wednesday with plans to arrest the student as soon as the child's parent or parents could arrive, said Elaine Baker, school district spokeswoman.

The fire started in a bathroom near the cafeteria. Officials said someone set a plastic toilet paper dispenser on fire. It's unclear what kind of incendiary device was used to start the blaze, but the fire burned enough to give off a black smoke.

Students and staff in the school's "B" building were evacuated. They were back in class by 10:30 a.m. No injuries were reported.

The suspect was identified with the help of other students and the school's resource officer, Baker said.

"We had several suspects on Tuesday," but by Wednesday, "had only one," she said.

"In all schools, you basically have to have a pass or some kind of approval to go to other areas of the school when you're supposed to be in class," she said. "You just don't get to go to the bathroom or the library whenever you choose."

The fire broke out while class was in session, she said, but "obviously you have a lot of kids out of the classroom for various reasons." It did not take long for officials to determine who was out of class at the time the fire was set.

She confirmed that the student is not currently in school, although she said administrators at Rock Hill High will have to determine "the disposition of this particular student and what charges the school will make."

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