Drake Hall fire ruled arson

By: Alyssa Fenske Email
By: Alyssa Fenske Email

(WEAU) La Crosse - We have new information about the dorm fire at UW-La Crosse. Investigators now say it could be arson, and are interviewing hundreds of people.

"The La Crosse Fire Department and UW-L Police Department have eliminated any electrical or mechanical possibilities as a cause to that fire. The result of that is leading us to possible human involvement,” said Lead Investigator Craig Snyder.

The UW-L Police Department has already interviewed more than 200 people, mostly students, as to the cause of the fire.

“We believe that someone has knowledge that can help us. Someone in the immediate area or one or more persons was in the actual room when there was a significant event,” said Scott Rohde, Chief of UW-L Campus Police.

There will be criminal prosecution if it is found out who started the fire, and expulsion is a possibility.

An anonymous tip line has been opened for anyone who has information on how or why the fire started. The number to call is 785-5000, and a reward of up to 2,000 will be given to anyone who has credible information.

All 271 students have been moved out, and have found places to live for the rest of the semester.

Mackenzie Kuhn’s bedroom window is now boarded up. She moved to Angel Hall just next door with her roommate.

“It was an extremely relieving feeling just because we had so many crazy things happen in the last two weeks. It’s nice to know we are going to have some consistency,” said Kuhn.

She will be getting money back for the time she spent without a home.

“I will be reimbursed I’m assuming for the two weeks that we weren’t able to spend in regular housing. I think we’re getting a little over 200 dollars back,” said Kuhn.

But not just Drake Students will be getting money. Students that are housing three to a room will also be seeing a reward.

“I am getting reimbursed 300 dollars on my housing, or my tuition, for putting up someone from Drake out of the kindness of my heart. They thought they would do something nice for us," said Erin Withey, a UW-La Crosse student.

Again, if you have any information as to how, or why the fire was started, an anonymous tip line has been opened. The number to call is 785-5000, and a reward of up to 2,000 will be given to anyone who has credible information.

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