SPRING HILL — The state Fire Marshal's Office on Monday arrested a Springstead High School student who is accused of setting a fire in a restroom, causing a brief evacuation of one of the school's buildings.
The boy, who is not being identified because of his age, faces a charge of arson. The student was booked into the Hernando County Jail, but it was unclear whether the teen had been released as of Monday evening.
According to Spring Hill Fire Rescue firefighters, the blaze started at 8:13 a.m. in a restroom of the 400 building at the high school. The teen allegedly set fire to a soap dispenser.
One of the restroom walls caught fire and lots of thick, black smoke forced school officials to evacuate the building, according to District Chief Kevin Carroll. Firefighters were able to quickly put out the fire.
"We had to ventilate the building because that stuff is pretty toxic," Carroll said. "Thank God nobody got trapped or disoriented in the bathroom. That's why we don't take these things too lightly."
Within 30 minutes, students were able to return to their classes.
Authorities took several witness statements that implicated the boy in the fire. Officials estimate the damage to the restroom at $1,000.
"Any time a fire is set that puts the public at large or firefighters in danger, that's something we take very seriously," said Capt. Brandon Ball with the state Fire Marshal's Office.
Joel Anderson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 754-6120.