Two charged in East St. John bathroom fire

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 17, 2010



LAPLACE – Two East St. John High School students were arrested on arson charges Tuesday for intentionally setting a fire in one of the school’s bathrooms, according to a release from the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

Jennipher Murray, 17, of 187 18th St., Reserve, and an unidentified 15-year-old student were taken into custody and booked on aggravated arson and criminal mischief charges. Additionally, Murray was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, according to the release.

State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning said St. John Parish fire officials were called out to the school around 9 a.m. to a report of a significant fire in one of the bathrooms. He said firefighters arrived to find the fire being controlled by an automatic sprinkler system.

“Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire and rendered the building safe,” Browning said in the release. “All students were evacuated without incident, and no one was injured.”

An investigation into the cause of the fire revealed that it had been intentionally set. Browning said school surveillance cameras assisted investigators in determining suspects. He said both students were skipping school activities when the fire was set.

“We will not tolerate people who use fires as a crime and endanger lives,” Browning said. “This should be a message that if you set a harmful fire you will be arrested and prosecuted”.

Capt. Dane Clement, public information officer for the St. John Sheriff’s Office, said Murray is being held at the Sherman Walker Correctional Facility in LaPlace in lieu of a $41,500 bond. He said the juvenile was sent to the St. Bernard Juvenile Detention Center in Chalmette.