By John Higgins
Beacon Journal staff writer
GRANGER TWP.: The state fire marshal has ruled the blaze that required the evacuation of more than 800 Highland students on Monday was intentionally set.
''They do have additional interviews to complete,'' fire marshal spokesman Shane Cartmill said Wednesday afternoon. ''With that many people in the building at the time, there's a lot of follow-up work to do. The [Medina County] sheriff's department and the fire marshal investigators will continue to work through all of that.''
The fire marshal eliminated all accidental causes and concluded that the fire, which originated in a shower area of the east gym that was being used for storage, was an arson.
''It's an ongoing criminal investigation, so we just cannot release a lot of additional details at this time,'' Cartmill said.
The fire was started just after first-period classes at Highland Middle School. The building, which serves 820 students in grades 6-8, was evacuated.
Fire and smoke damaged the gymnasium, several classrooms and two hallways.
District spokeswoman Dawn Marzano said the fire caused $350,000 in damage, according to initial estimates.