Damage estimate in John Marshall HS fire reaches $100,000

Posted at 10:20 PM, Mar 02, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-02 23:44:59-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Initially, the estimated damage to John Marshall High School after a weekend fire was in the $30,000 range.

Now, administrators say it is closer to $100,000, and say it affects Richmond Public School students who don't even go there.

Cell phone video shows smoke billowing out of a storage building on the side of John Marshall close to the YMCA. Firefighters say it is arson.

JM HS Fire

"It was an intentional act,” said Fire Marshal William Martin. “No accelerant was used because it would've been more significant.

“However, the door was open when it had been secured before. There were two spots inside where we could see whoever dropped a match or flicked a lighter to start a couple of fires."

Inside this building various security items, old documents and J-ROTC uniforms for both John Marshall and Huguenot High, are stored. So the financial loss is mounting.

"It’s probably $35,000 to 50,000 for the structure, and the inside contents are looking more like $35,000 to $40,000,” said Asst. Supt. Tommy Kranz. He says it will affect every child that goes to a Richmond public school.

"It's very disappointing because we have to take this money out of the school system’s general fund, and ultimately that's money away from children that attend every Richmond public school," said Kranz.

Fire investigators are reviewing surveillance tape and asking others who may have cell phone video to call their office. They don't know if they're looking for an adult or juvenile fire starter, but do believe this is a solvable case.

"Whether it's somebody doing something stupid or malicious, it hurts the kids," said Kranz.

Martin says tipsters can call the city's Arson Hotline or Crimestoppers.