Arson Is Suspected In PHS Locker Fire

3 December, 1991 (~estimated)

Arson Is Suspected In PHS Locker Fire

A fire Friday morning in the boys’ basement locker room at Princeton High School, which forced the entire building to be evacuated for some 25 minutes, is being investigated as arson, said Capt. Peter Hanley this week.

“There is definitely nothing there that could have self-ignited; it had to be set,” said Capt. Hanley.

No one was injured but the fire damaged 13 lockers and their contents — clothing and gym bags. The fire was discovered shortly after 10 by a maintenance worker who first tried to battle the blaze with a dry chemical extinguisher. By the time police and firemen arrived, responding to a 10:00 general alarm, there was a considerable amount of smoke. Capt. Hanley said. Firemen had to use air packs to enter the area. There was no structural damage and even the smoke damage was slight because firemen managed to expel it quickly with the use of fans. After the building was re-occupied classes continued, with the exception of gym classes. Two athletic events scheduled for the school that evening were cancelled.

The fire was located in the locker room underneath the new gym. Capt. Hanley said that the police and arson investigation is continuing but it appears as if someone either pushed a lighted match through a wire mesh locker or pulled a piece of clothing through the mesh and ignited that.

While firemen and Princeton First Aid Squad members were at the scene, Borough police arrested a 17-year-old senior and charged him with disorderly conduct for leaving the school grounds. Capt. Hanley said the student refused to return to school when approached by a teacher. He is not, he said, a suspect in the fire.

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