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Bloomington Herald-Times Articles

March 31, 2009

IU Police seeking toilet paper arsonist
By Laura Lane
March 30, 2009

Indiana University police are on the lookout for a toilet-paper arsonist responsible for three fires in the past week in student residence buildings.

So far, the fires -- started by igniting rolls of toilet paper -- have been discovered early and caused just smoke and $200 in damage to floors and walls.

But fear is spreading as residents of Tulip Tree Apartments and Forest Residence Center worry what could happen if the fires were to spread.

At 11:10 p.m. Thursday, the Bloomington Fire Department and IUPD officers were called to Tulip Tree Apartments on East 10th Street in reference to an active fire alarm. Residents discovered a toilet paper roll on fire in the north stairwell between the fifth and sixth floors. Firefighters extinguished the blaze, which caused a large amount of smoke and also burn marks on the vinyl floor tiles.

The next night, at 7:27, firefighters and IUPD officers responded to a similar fire at Forest Residence Center, 1725 E. Third St.

They found a smoldering roll of toilet paper and a large amount of smoke in the sixth floor stairwell of B building.

Then, on Saturday night at 11:16, firefighters and police responded again to a fire at Tulip Tree Apartments, this one in the stairwell between the second and third floors.

"Officers found a small pile of smoldering paper that appeared to have been a roll of toilet paper or paper towels. Tulip Tree Apartment residents extinguished the fire," an IU news release said.

So far, there are no suspects or witnesses. Anyone who may know the identity of any suspects or have information in these incidents should contact the Investigation Section of the IU Police Department at 812-855-4111.