Toilet paper fire shuts down Ypsilanti Middle School
A small bathroom fire forced officials at Ypsilanti Middle School to evacuate students for about 15 to 30 minutes Monday afternoon.
The Ypsilanti Township Fire Department was dispatched to the school at 12:20 p.m. for a fire in the boys’ bathroom, according to Capt. Larry James.
“(Suspects) set the toilet paper on fire inside the dispenser,” he said. “There was smoke throughout the hallway.”
A quick-thinking male school employee quickly doused the fire with a bucket of water, James said. The employee was quickly followed into the bathroom by assistant principal Paula Sizemore, who also helped contain the blaze.
Sizemore was evaluated by responders from Huron Valley Ambulance, but released on the scene, James said. There were no other reported injuries.
As soon as smoke was detected in the school, officials evacuated all students, most of whom were allowed back in 15 minutes later. Students with classes in rooms near the bathroom in question - described by James as the “600 wing” - were let back in 30 minutes later.
There were no remnants of matches found at the scene, so the suspects are believed to have used a lighter to ignite the toilet paper. The fire ruined the dispenser and caused about $1,500 in damages.
According to James, the school is investigating four suspects who were seen coming or going from the bathroom around the time of the fire. The Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office is reviewing security tapes from the school to narrow down the suspects, as well.
James chalks up the fire to “pranks at the end of the year.”