• Student sets fire to Gig Harbor port-a-potty, ruins $150,000 of sports equipment, police say

    By: Shelby Miller


    GIG HARBOR, Wash. - Blue, melted plastic is all that remains of a port-a-potty that was set on fire on Gig Harbor High School’s campus. 

    Smoke and flames from the structure spread to a neighboring sports shed, ruining more than $100,000 worth of sports equipment. 

    "I'm just totally shocked that that would happen in Gig Harbor,” said Nancy Beers. 

    Police said they’re investigating the incident as arson. Officers believe a Henderson Bay High School student set toilet paper on fire inside a portable toilet that once sat just feet from Gig Harbor High School's track field.

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    “Sometimes we don't think about the repercussions of our actions," said Gig Harbor High School Principal Thomas Leacy. “We don't always understand that something that we do, that we think is small, or we think is funny, can turn into something extremely harmful."

    Smoke and heat quickly spread from the portable toilet through a vent into the sports shed, ruining hurdles, javelins, pole vaulting gear and more, just days before the track team heads to states.

    “It's huge because the damages were approximately $150,000 worth of equipment that belonged to Gig Harbor High School. That included both track equipment and the football equipment,” said Lt. Fred Douglas, with the Gig Harbor Police Department. 

    Gear is now stacked outside, smelling of smoke and waiting to be inspected. 

    Leacy said neighboring schools are pitching in to make sure kids make it to states.

    Police call the incident a foolish prank done by a 15-year-old student who now faces felony consequences. 

    “Having had one, you never know what's going through a 15-year-old's mind, but you would really hope it wasn't something like that. I'm just flabbergasted,” said Beers. 

    The 15-year-old student isn’t being named because he is a juvenile. Police said he’s being held at Remann Hall in Tacoma on an arson charge. 



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