Fairfax summer school student charged after setting fire in W. Potomac bathroom

A 16-year-old has been charged with allegedly lighting a fire inside a bathroom at West Potomac High School near Alexandria.

Fairfax County fire investigators said that the young male set the fire Wednesday around 1 p.m. inside a bathroom trash can, causing about $50 in damage. No one was injured in the incident.

School security staffers extinguished the small blaze before fire and smoke detection systems were activated, county fire officials said. The West Potomac summer school student was charged with a class one misdemeanor for burning personal property.

Renee Stilwell, an information officer with Fairfax County fire and rescue, said that about 100 juveniles a year attend an interventional seminar after exhibiting fire-setting behavior. She said school bathroom trash can fires occur with some regularity.

“They think it’s a prank,” Stilwell said. “But they are dangerous in the respect that they can hurt someone.”

It’s also possible that the student could face disciplinary action from the Fairfax school system.

T. Rees Shapiro is an education reporter.
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