Fire Investigators Think Dunbar School Fire Was Arson

Monday, February 15th 2016, 5:22 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

Fire crews were back out Monday morning at the old Dunbar Elementary for the second time in less than a month. Investigators think both cases were arson.

Fire crews were called about 3:30 a.m. out to the old Dunbar Elementary. The scene was quickly becoming a familiar one for them and neighbors.

2/15/2016 Related Story: Officials: Fires At Dunbar Elementary In OKC Intentionally Set

“I definitely heard them,” said Robert Tucker, who lives nearby. “I said, 'dang, Karen, this is going on again.' Come to find out Dunbar School was set on fire again.”

Firefighters said the fires were contained to two rooms, and they caused about $15,000 in damage. Once the fire was out, investigators determined the fires were intentionally set.       

“We were here about a month ago, same time of situation,” Oklahoma City fire Battalion Chief Tony Davis said. “Middle of the night, fires set on different parts of the building on different floors.”

Dunbar served Oklahoma City students for 88 years and was supposed to be renovated as part of MAPS for Kids. But in 2010, citing declining enrollment and a looming budget crisis, the district closed down the school.

Back then, former students fought to keep it from being torn down.

“I refuse to let them tear this school down,” Donna Crutcher told News 9.

Old School Properties LLC bought the school for $535,000 in 2015 and has sat vacant since then. 

Meanwhile, the neighborhood surrounding the school has was seen a major revitalization with new homes going up all around.  This left neighbors like Robert concerned about what kind of criminal element the old school could be bringing into their neighborhood.

“I’m hoping they will do something with the subject of Dunbar, what can be done?” he asked.

Anyone with information about the fire is asked to call the arson hotline at 23-Arson (232-7766).