Two arrested for allegedly setting fires in Craig school

Posted: Tuesday, December 11, 2007

CRAIG - Two men were arrested Friday for allegedly setting three separate fires in Craig Middle School and cutting 13 boats loose from North Cove Harbor in Craig.

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Craig residents Justin Seley, 23, and Shane Fitzgerald, 20, were charged with second-degree burglary, second-degree arson, multiple counts of criminal mischief and resisting arrest, Craig Police Chief Mark Habib said.

He said that Craig Police Officer Allison Docken was patrolling the area early Friday morning, just before 3:30 a.m., when she noticed smoke and heard an alarm going off at the middle school.

Docken called for the fire department, but she was able to put out the fires in the main hallway and two offices with a fire extinguisher. Habib said the damage to the school is still being assessed, but there was no major structural damage.

"It would've been a lot worse had the officer on duty at night not heard the alarm going off and not observed it obviously," Habib said.

Several items at the school also were vandalized, and Habib would not release specifics because the investigation is ongoing.

Craig Middle School was closed Friday while officers collected evidence and cleaned up. The school reopened Monday, Habib said.

He said that while officers were on scene at the middle school, several 911 calls came in reporting two men cutting ropes from fishing boats at North Cove Harbor. Witnesses reported that Seley and Fitzgerald were the two men cutting the lines, according to the police chief.

Thirteen boats had been set adrift with owners and crew members still asleep inside several of the boats, Habib said. He said a lot of people who live on boats in the harbor were quick to start waking people up to help grab lines and pull the boats back into the harbor. So far, he said they have not found any damage to the boats.

Habib said he believed that alcohol was a factor.

Fitzgerald posted bail, but Seley was still in custody Monday at the Craig jail.

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