The Forest Acres Police Department (FAPD) is investigating a fire that took place Thursday morning in an A.C. Flora High School bathroom. According to the public information officer for the City of Forest Acres, the cause of the fire has been ruled suspicious.

The Richland County Sheriff’s Department School Resource Officer and the Fire Marshal were the first agencies on scene and called the FAPD to investigate after determining the fire appeared to be a criminal act. Investigators found a paper towel dispenser inside a girls restroom that had been set on fire at the scene.

"We are committed to seeing this investigation through and hopefully identifying a suspect or suspects and charging them with what’s allowed under the fullest extent of the law," said FAPD Chief Don Robinson. "Criminal damage to property will not be tolerated in our city, especially at our public schools where students and educators were placed at risk intentionally.” 

The blaze was put out quickly with a fire extinguisher and the Columbia Fire Department responded to assist. No one was hurt and the fire/smoke damage was contained.

“While we are relieved this fire was extinguished swiftly and without injury, we remain greatly disturbed by this apparent crime in our public school,” said Robinson. “We are investigating this fully and following up on all leads actively coming in to our departments including those from the student body."

Updates on the incident will be released when available. In the meantime, anyone with tips is encouraged to call the FAPD at 803-782-9444.

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