Cause of fires evade authority


by Shara Tibken

An unusually high number of dumpster fires have been set oncampus since the beginning of the academic year.

According to Chris Frerichs, director of security, dumpsterfires have been very rare in past years and have not causedproblems for the college.

In this academic year, there have been seven different firesaround the Simpson campus.

Due to the seriousness of the offenses, the Simpson CollegeSecurity Department is offering a $1,000 reward for informationabout the dumpster fires.

An e-mail was sent to all students on campus advertising thereward, which is being funded by the college, according toFrerichs.

The first fire occurred as early as Aug. 31. This dumpster firewas set on the west side of Cowles Fieldhouse.

Another dumpster was set on fire at Cowles on Oct. 5.

The dumpster by Kappa Kappa Gamma has had two fires as well, oneon Sept. 4, the other on Jan. 21. Both fires at the sorority werediscovered very early in the morning. The latest fire was firstseen by members of the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon who proceededto call security.

“We had just gotten done watching a movie, so it was all dark inthe lounge, and Joel Keiser looked outside and saw that thedumpster was on fire,” said junior Kyle Doyle. “We called over toKKG, but no one was answering, so we called security, then back toKKG until someone picked up.”

Another dumpster fire was set at Irving Elementary School onJan. 23. All fires were started around 1 or 2 a.m., except for themost recent dumpster fire on campus. The fire at Barker Hall onJan. 24 was discovered around 11:30 p.m.

“I called security…the fire was kind of contained,” saidsophomore Dan Carver, Barker Hall resident assistant.

The fires were not started in any distinct pattern. Three werestarted early on Sunday mornings, while others were set on variousdays of the week. One fire even occurred very early on a Tuesdaymorning.

Simpson is not the only college in the area experiencingdumpster fires on campus. According to the Iowa State Daily Website, police officers extinguished a dumpster fire on Jan. 20 atIowa State University.

Compared with other crimes occurring on nearby campuses, such asthe Drake University muggings in late October, the events atSimpson are relatively minor.

Other criminal acts at Simpson College that require policeback-up occur in isolated instances.

Jan. 31, the Indianola Police Department responded to one suchoccurrence. The police were called to the campus around 3 a.m.Saturday morning, according to Ryan Ortland, Indianola policeofficer.

The police responded to the call for assistance at Barker Hall”in reference to some possible drug activity,” said Ortland.

No drug paraphernalia was found in Barker though, and aninvestigation by Simpson’s security as to what happened exactly onSaturday morning is currently in progress.

Security declined to comment about the incident on Saturday andthe dumpster fire occurrences as both of the investigations arestill ongoing. No one has been injured in the instances of crime atSimpson.

“I feel very safe on campus,” said freshman Lacy Wright. “Aslong as people are not setting dorm rooms on fire, I’m not tooworried.”