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Tuesday, November 22, 2005
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Safety is top priority after small fires

ATHENS, Ohio (Feb. 28, 2007) -- Ohio University continues to make safety its top priority in the wake of three small fires in a South Green residence hall last week. Ohio University Police Department and Student Affairs staff held a meeting with Martzolff residents Tuesday night updating them on the status of the investigation and answering questions.

The three incidents happened between Feb. 20 and Feb. 24 in Martzolff House. Authorities quickly responded to the fires. In one instance the fire in a trash can had extinguished itself when police arrived. Police officers used fire extinguishers to put out a second fire in an elevator, and Athens firefighters extinguished the third. No one was injured. 

Ohio University Police Department, the Athens Fire Department and the state fire marshall continue to investigate. There is a $5,000 reward posted for information leading to an arrest. 

Martzolff staff followed proper fire safety procedures and students were evacuated from the building in two of the incidents. About 160 students live in Martzolff. The building sustained less than $1,000 in damages. 

If the perpetrator is a student, he or she will go through the university judicial system in addition to facing criminal charges, said Judy Piercy, assistant vice president for student affairs and interim director of residence life.

"You have to think past yourself and think of others," Piercy said. "This is not a prank or a joke." 

The three incidents may or may not be related, said Lt. Chris Johnson with the Ohio University Police Department. 

Students with questions can seek out their residence assistant or resident director.

If you have any information on the crimes, call the Ohio University Police Department at 740-593-1911.

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Media Contact: Acting Senior Director of Media Relations Sally Linder, 740-597-1793 or linders@ohio.edu

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