Ohio State Fire Marshal offering $5,000 reward for arson conviction

Alpha Xi Delta Sorority House
Alpha Xi Delta Sorority House(WTAP News)
Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 5:23 PM EST
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(WTAP) -The Ohio State Fire Marshal is providing some major reward money for anyone who can help them solve an arson case that damaged a historic Marietta College sorority house.

Josh Hobbs, Chief of the Fire and Explosion Investigations Bureau with the Ohio State Fire Marshal’s office, said they are still trying to figure out what started the fire at Alpha Xi Delta on November 9th. He said the Blue Ribbon Arson Committee is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible.

“This is a type of situation that would generate a sizeable award with information leading to the conviction due to the severity of this fire. If that would have been full of sorority members that night and taken the lives of people, which it could have, we would be dealing with quite a serious crime here. So, just by chance, we were fortunate that that wasn’t the case,” Hobbs said.

Hobbs said the person or people who started the fire at the house likely started two other fires that occurred the same day. One was at the nearby Mound cemetery and the other was at the frontier shopping plaza. He urges the public to provide any information, even if they think it’s insignificant.

“Most of our cases have been solved by somebody telling you, ‘I know this isn’t going to help you, or I know this isn’t much and you’re like, ‘it’s exactly what we needed.’ And that’s generally what happens. I know there’s always a reluctance, there’s the reluctance with fear,” Hobbs said.

“The people of Marietta have nothing to be scared of. A lot of times they say, ‘I don’t want to say anything because it could happen to me.’ Well, the only way we can take care of that is by getting the individual or individuals off the street.”

Taylor Clemons, an Alpha Xi Delta member at Marietta College said her room caught on fire and she lost a lot of personal items. She said the sorority has received a lot of support from alumni and the community.

“We are so grateful that the state of Ohio is offering this reward for a conviction for the person who burnt down our home. We are so happy that they are fighting to find us justice for the person who may have done this. We are just so grateful, words can not express how happy we are that this is happening,” Clemons said.

Hobbs said he believes his team is close to solving the case. Anyone with tips, pictures, or videos can call the State Fire Marshal’s tip line at 800-589-2728 or the Marietta Fire Department at 740-376-2007.

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