LAYTON -- Police have arrested an 18-year-old man they said started a fire Monday at Northridge High School.
Paul Robles, of Sunset, was booked into Davis County Jail on charges of first-degree felony arson because, according to a news release from Layton police, probable cause was developed that he started a fire inside the school while others were there.
Robles is a student at the school.
The fire was started in the men's bathroom near the gym. An investigation revealed that a toilet paper roll inside a plastic dispenser was lit on fire.
Assistant Principal Clyde Jackson said school and district officials, along with Layton police and the fire department, conducted an investigation.
Yellow crime scene tape closed off the bathroom area from students while workers tried to get the smell of burned plastic out of the building.
Students reported the smell of smoke in the hallway of the "D" building to the school office during the day's second period.
The resource officer investigated, said Layton Battalion Fire Chief Scott Maughan. The officer saw black smoke filling up the bathroom and called 911 at 9:48 a.m.
"It was reported as a structure fire, not as a fire alarm," Maughan said.
Firefighters from Kaysville also responded.
About 1,750 students, along with faculty and staff, were evacuated and remained outside for almost an hour while crews made sure the fire had not gotten into the ceiling or wiring, Jackson said.
The fire and smoke damage, estimated at about $500, was contained to the bathroom.
The sprinkler in the bathroom did not activate because the fire was not hot enough, and no flames were showing when fire crews arrived.
Firefighters climbed on the school's roof to open ventilation to clear the air inside the building after the fire was contained.
Maughan said the evacuation of the school was handled in a timely manner and no one was injured.
Larry Peterson, who teaches Advanced Placement statistics on the second floor of the school, said he and his students thought it was an emergency drill until they came down the stairs.
"You could smell the smoke," he said.
His students were taking a test when the fire alarm was pulled.
"When you have an emergency, you just roll with it," Peterson said.
Jackson said students and teachers handled the situation well, but "it was quite a disruption to our school."