Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

UP continues arson investigation

UW Oshkosh University Police still have no suspects in the wake of two arson cases, an official said on Wednesday.

UP and the Oshkosh Fire Department responded to a fire alarm at Fletcher Residences Hall on Monday Dec. 7 at 4:16 p.m. when a chair was set on fire.

This was the second fire incident to occur in the resident hall in the past week.

“This is the second incident in about a 48-hour period where we had a fire started in the building,” Interim Police Chief Christopher Tarmann said during a press conference held at Fletcher Hall, Tuesday.

A press release sent out by the University stated there is a reward being offered for any relevant information.

“The UW Oshkosh Department of Residence Life is offering $500 for information leading to the source of the arson,” the press release stated.

UWO Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Petra Roter said the penalty for the arson can be either suspension or expulsion from the University.

“If a person is suspended or expelled, they are suspended or expelled from all UW system institutions,” Roter said.

Tarmann said there is a possibility the two fires may be related due to their nature.

“Obviously there are two events very close in proximity so that would be a natural consideration for us to think they’re connected,” Tarmann said.

Tarmann said in both incidents, chairs were burned and were the only damage that occurred.

“Both of the chairs that were burned leaked on the floor and melted the carpet a little, but it’s just the chair,” Tarmann said.

Tarmann said the fire alarms did not sound during the first incident because community advisers found the burned chairs during a building check.

Tarmann said even though the fire alarm did not sound during the first incident, he is not concerned about the fire alarms failing.

“We have tested [the fire alarms] multiple times, and we have had no issues with them over the last eight years I’ve worked here,”

Tarmann said. Roter said Fletcher Hall is currently not equipped with a sprinkler system because it is exempt from the state ordinance.

“We are going to be adding an addition to this building and be renovating it as well, which will then put it in a category which we would have to add sprinklers,”

Roter said. An email sent out to the residents of Fletcher Hall stated increased security is now being added to the residence hall.

“Due to recent concerns regarding fire safety, additional security steps will be taken to address these issues, including the presence of additional staff in the building,” the email stated.

Tarmann said safety is the No.1 priority on campus, and the residence halls on campus are very secure.

“This is a secure building, and we take security very serious on campus, so we do have mechanisms in place,” Tarmann said. “We have card access systems, camera systems, hall staff, front desk workers, all that stuff is being considered in the investigation.”

Roter said it’s understandable why students are concerned, and communication can hopefully put students at ease.

“We can reassure them,” Roter said. “We can put these kinds [of safety procedures] in place. It’s hard to communicate that to let them know that we are doing everything we can to keep them safe. This is a peculiar and isolated case. We don’t control an individuals perception, and I wouldn’t want to minimize that in any shape or form.”

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