Fire set in Wauneta-Palisade’s school library; two students facing criminal charges

    The Chase County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call at Wauneta-Palisade Schools’ (WP) Wauneta Attendance Center Feb. 27 to investigate an alleged case of arson.
    According to the sheriff’s report, WP Supt. Randy Geier reported administration believed a fire had allegedly been set intentionally inside of the school. Around 11:55 a.m., Geier requested law enforcement’s immediate assistance.
    As Deputy Duncan Einspahr arrived, WP’s faculty, administration and students assisted with a subsequent investigation of the situation.
    The official report states, “Such cooperation was essential in determining what had taken place, the details of which were disturbing.”
    The investigation revealed two Wauneta-Palisade students allegedly set the fire to a bookshelf inside the school’s library.
    The identities of the two students are being withheld given their status as juveniles.
    The goal appeared to be the potential destruction of the school. The library is located on the building’s southeast side on the second floor.
    The pair, allegedly using a cigarette lighter, attempted to light a large stack of paper, which was on a shelf opposite several large book shelves.
    The report went on to say that the students quickly left the library after setting the fire, which burned out and began to smolder. It failed to ignite the stack of paper or the adjacent bookshelf.
    There were approximately 80 students and staff members on the third floor above the library.
    Nobody was injured during the incident and the damage caused by the fire was minor.
    “We feel like this was an isolated situation. Overall we have a safe school,” said Geier.
    The two students included a 14-year-old female and a 15-year-old male.
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