THE PACE CHRONICLE

Local Police Suspect Arson in Martin Fires

Fire+fighters+rush+to+Martin+Hall+after+it+was+the+subject+of+alleged+arson.+Photo+by+James+Miranda.+
Fire fighters rush to Martin Hall after it was the subject of alleged arson. Photo by James Miranda.

Fire fighters rush to Martin Hall after it was the subject of alleged arson. Photo by James Miranda.

Fire fighters rush to Martin Hall after it was the subject of alleged arson. Photo by James Miranda.

Joseph Tucci, Managing Editor

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Arson has been suspected as the cause of a series of fires that occurred in Martin Hall Oct. 26 and 27.

On Oct. 26 the fire alarm in Martin went off at around 1:30 PM due to a fire being started in a garbage can. A second fire was then started by someone lighting a curtain on fire in the second floor women’s restroom, leading to the evacuation of the building and causing the hallway to be filled with smoke, according to Martin residents.

“I walked out of my room and there was a foot of white smoke on the ceiling, and then we were walking past the girl’s bathroom and it turned into black smoke, and then we were like ‘oh this is real,’ and we ran out,” resident Cassidy Caroselli said.

On Oct. 27 another fire was started in the second floor women’s restroom at around 5 PM, leading to the evacuation of the building, according to Martin resident Rosie Marrone. Before Martin was reopened at 7:30 PM, residents were sent an email by Resident Assistant, Anika Wilson, saying that they were allowed to stay overnight in another dorm. The Pace Perk cafe was closed due to the events.

The fires were put out by the combined efforts of the Pleasantville, Millwood, Thornwood, and Ossining Fire Departments. The buildings were investigated by the fire departments and the Mt. Pleasant Police Department using an arson dog.

Due to the events security has been heightened around campus. Three members of Pace’s security staff have been stationed in Martin for 24 hours a day until further notice, according to a statement released by Westchester Housing.

“In Martin initially I would see one security guard walk down the hall like every three days at 2 AM and that would be it,” resident Noah Brennan said. “Today I woke up and saw a security guard, went to the bathroom and saw a security guard, and went to class and saw a security guard. And I thought ‘okay that’s fine,’ I appreciate it. It’s a little bit uneasy to think they needed that much security, but at the same time I really appreciate what they’re doing.”

Pace Security has also installed 15 additional cameras in Martin and there is no guest policy permitted until further notice, according to a statement released by Pace’s Associate Vice President Adelia Williams.

Brennan felt uneasy about the lack of information released about the incidents from Residential Life since they did not specifically say that the fire was caused by arson before letting the residents go back into Martin.

“It’s terrifying to think that [Residential Life] put us back in a building, where they suspected intent and let us sleep there overnight,” Brennan said.

Marrone suspects that the alleged arsonist may be the same person who vandalized Martin’s second-floor women’s restroom a week and a half ago.

“A week and a half ago in the same bathroom where the fires were someone was drawing with lipstick all over the stalls and all over the walls,” Marrone said. “The cleaning lady cleaned it, and the very next day the [perpetrator] did it again.”

The fire is currently still under investigation by Pace Security and the Mt. Pleasant Police department. There were no injuries according to a statement released by the University.

“We’re currently working with Pace Security and I have several detectives working to get to the bottom of this, obviously we’ve had an arson investigator there and [the fires] have been intentionally set, so we’re taking it very seriously,” Mt. Pleasant Police Chief Paul Oliva said.

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About the Writer
Joseph Tucci, Managing Editor

Joe Tucci is a senior Digital Journalism major who is driven by the curiosity to know as much as possible about the world around him. In the future, Joe hopes to be a badass journalist who will expose the wicked things in the world for what they really are, as well give exposure to the good things that deserve it. Joe’s hobbies include following politics, listening to all kinds of music, watching all kinds of shows, and writing stories. He has been a member of The Pace Chronicle since his freshman year at Pace and is a member of the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity. Joe also loves his family, his friends, and his cats.

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