LLC fire case still open

Kate Fechter

A fire was set in an elevator in the Living Learning Center during the early morning hours of Oct. 18, 2008. The students in the LLC were evacuated and the fire was extinguished.

Two elevators were damaged, and although the elevators are in working condition now, previous stories reported repairs totaling between $200,000 and $300,000. Almost two years later, the case is still open and all leads have run dry.  While the university has not made any changes to policy, there have been other changes.

“They did install security cameras in all public areas, including exits, entrances and elevators,” said Kate McCown, assistant director of Residential Living. “The LLC facilities are card access only still.”

As for the investigation into catching the arsonist that started the fire, Capt. Ed White has been heavily involved. When it began, the investigation was done by the city fire inspector, the state fire marshal and the Washburn University Police Department. Local media gave attention to the case using Crime Stoppers, encouraging people with information to make it available to the authorities.

“A few leads came in, but nothing materialized,” said White. “It’s still an open case, and I worked on it for about a year and a half. All of that information has been turned over to the district attorney.”

White could not comment further because it is an open case and he did not want to compromise the integrity of the case. The statute of limitations on an arson case is five years. If caught, the perpetrator can be prosecuted until 2013.

Earlier this week, in an attempt to get the public’s attention back on the case WIBW did another Crime Stoppers story on the case. The hope is that this will cause anyone with information on the incident to come forward. Those who have information are encouraged to make an anonymous call to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or contact the Washburn Police Department.

It is important that anyone with information come forward. Though there have been no further incidents of this magnitude, it is important for the safety of students and the public that justice be served. Also, students should bear in mind that the actions of one can affect many.