Suspect arrested in connection with fire at Woodlawn High

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — UPDATE: Birmingham police say 44-year-old Ralph Harris was arrested Thursday afternoon in connection with the fire. Formal charges are pending.

ORIGINAL: Around 5:30 am Thursday morning two police officers on patrol spotted smoke and fire at Woodlawn High School. The officers found two small fires at the school. Birmingham Fire responded to the scene.

Traffic cone that was found on fire at Woodlawn High School (WIAT-Parrish Alleman)
Traffic cone that was found on fire at Woodlawn High School (WIAT-Parrish Alleman)

The battalion chief tells WIAT 42 that the fires appear suspicious in nature and that they appear to have been started by someone dragging a large orange traffic barrel, a football tackling practice pad, and other materials, to two entrances at the school and then set on fire.

Currently the fire is being investigated as a possible arson. Police have one person in custody, but they are not considered a suspect at this time. Lt. Sean Edwards of the Birmingham Police says the man showed up to the scene and appeared to be under the influence of something while firefighters were working to put out the fire. He is being detained until police can talk with him to see if he has any information related to fires.

MORE: Photos from Woodlawn High School 

Police and the fire department’s fire investigator continue to investigate the scene and cause of the blaze. School is in session as normal. There is minor damage to the school doors at the front entrance and the back entrance to the gym.

WIAT 42 will continue to follow this developing story and bring you the latest information as soon as it becomes available.

Copyright 2014 WIAT 42 News

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