Marcos de Niza High School student arrested for arson

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

TEMPE, Ariz. – A Marcos de Niza High School student was arrested for arson after he allegedly started a fire on campus.

According to Tempe police detectives, the 15-year-old student intentionally started a fire inside a gym locker in the boys' physical education locker room Thursday morning.

No students were in the locker room at the time.

A school employee inside the building smelled smoke, called 911 and extinguished the fire.

Police spokeswoman Molly Enright said the fire was confined to a small area and had not had time to spread throughout the building.

The school employee suffered from smoke inhalation and was admitted to a local hospital for observation.

Tempe firefighters and police officers responded and the structure was searched to ensure all students were safely out of the building.

"We've done wonderful training and preparation for these type of things with crisis teams, and we were ready and we put our evacuation into place," Principal Frank Mirizio said.

The student is facing charges of arson of an occupied structure, aggravated criminal damage, and interference with or disruption of an educational institution.

Since the suspect is a juvenile, his name and photo are not being released at this time.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Tempe Police Department at 480-350-8311.