ROTC van arson still under investigation

Sky Fought

Authorities continue to look for the individual or individuals who set fire to two ROTC vans last month.

The two government-owned vehicles were found on fire in the R3 Terrace Hall parking lot. The police received a call around 2:33 a.m. from a student, reporting the incident. There were no injuries at the scene.

Lindsey Burnworth, the public information officer for the Ohio Department of Commerce Division of State Fire Marshal, said the case remains open and under investigation with no new updates. 

“Our investigators are always actively looking for updates and information regarding cases like this,” Burnworth said in a phone interview.

However, she said she could not give any detailed information about the investigation so the case would not be compromised. 

A reward of $5,000 will still be offered by the Blue Ribbon Arson Committee for information about the identification of the person(s) responsible for the fire. The investigators want to hear from anyone who knows information about the crime.

Army ROTC Lt. Col. Matthew Fox said precautions are still being taken for student safety. He said the students would wear their uniforms after spring break on lab class days.

Fox said the arson situation has not had a huge impact on the students or the program. He said the students continue to come to class, work together and learn. 

“Life goes on,” Fox said. “Everyone is doing their best to move forward.”

Fox credited the university for helping ensure student and faculty safety.

“They have really stepped up with security and have looked out for the program and our students,” Fox said.

Brittany Martin, a junior finance major and Army ROTC cadet, said the arson did not affect the reputation of the program. She said it gave the program a reality check.

“There are individuals who do not observe the same values as us,” Martin said. “We should be constantly engaged and observant of the environment around us.”

Martin said, though it was upsetting someone chose to set the vehicles on fire, the program recovered and carried on just as the United States Army and the United States population has always done and will continue to do.

“We are training as officers to serve our nation with the hope that one day we won’t face issues like this,” Martin said.

Anyone with information regarding the arson should call the State Fire Marshal’s Fire & Explosion Investigation Bureau at 1-800-589-2728.

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