By BRIAN HAWKINS
Mississippi State University police have charged a male student with first degree arson in connection with a small Tuesday night fire in a campus residence hall.
Robert Ross Crutchirds, 18, of Gulfport, was released on a $10,000 bond following his arrest on the arson charge Tuesday night.
Crutchirds is charged with setting a bulletin board on fire in a fourth-floor hallway of Cresswell Hall, a student residence hall on the south side of the MSU campus, said MSU Police Department Sgt. Brad Massey on Wednesday.
MSU police officers were dispatched to Cresswell at 7:15 p.m. after a fire was reported there, Massey said. Resident assistants on the fourth floor of the building acted quickly to put out the fire with an extinguisher, Massey said.
“The Housing and Residence Life staff did an outstanding job of getting the fire out before it had a chance to spread,” Massey said.
However, the flames did cause smoke to spread throughout the floor and force evacuation of Cresswell for more than hour while Starkville Fire Department officials determined the building was safe, Massey said.
SFD fire marshals and officials with the State Fire Marshal’s Office did investigate the blaze, he said.
Though Massey could not comment on what materials were used to start the blaze, he did say that Crutchirds was soon identified as a suspect by police.
Massey would not comment on any motive the suspect may have had for setting the fire.
Crutchirds also faces university disciplinary action through the Dean of Students Office.