A 21-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of “arson with intent to endanger life” after Royal Holloway’s Grade I Founder’s building was evacuated following a fire.
Smoke was reported at about 8pm on Thursday, December 1st and the fire was contained by 9.30pm by Surrey Fire and Rescue. Surrey Police were called to assist fire crews around 8pm following the discovery of multiple fires believed to have been started deliberately, according to a statement.
Student radio station Insanity Radio reported four fire engines on the scene and the police helicopter NPAS Benson was sighted above the university. The @NPAS_Benson Twitter account reported “possible arson” and the arrest of one individual.
2130hrs, Royal Holloway Hospital, Surrey, possible arson, one arrested. With @SurreyPolice
— NPAS Benson (@NPAS_Benson) December 1, 2016
No injuries have been reported and Principal Paul Layzell has said that ambulances on scene were a precautionary measure.
Surrey Police have said that a 21-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of arson. He was arrested on campus at Bedford Library where police dogs were on scene.
Surrey Police said in a statement:
“A 21-year-old man was detained nearby shortly afterwards and has been arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life. He is currently in custody.”
“The incident has resulted in significant fire damage to at least one of the rooms within the building.”
Conflicting reports suggest the arrested man was a former or final year student. Some witnesses allege he was under the influence of drugs.
Students in Founders have been told that they will be unable to stay overnight in the historic building and university services worked to arrange overnight accommodation.
Students living in Founder’s will not be able to return to their rooms tonight. Working with students to arrange overnight accommodation.
— RHCampusLife (@RHCampusLife) December 1, 2016
Present and former students have been using the hashtag #foundersfire on Twitter to express their concerns about the building and sympathy for students there.