Friday, October 17, 2003

Officials release poster to assist Columbus fatal fire investigation

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - Investigators hope a poster released after the start of fall classes at Ohio State University will renew interest in the investigation of a house fire that killed five college students last spring.

University and city officials on Thursday issued the poster, which features a photo of the boarded-up crime scene under the word "arson," rendered in block letters and surrounded in orange flame.

The poster urges students to come forward with any information they have about the fire, even if they think it's insignificant.

It includes the phrase, "Five students - think about it."

A reward of as much as $34,000 is being offered for information leading to an arrest.

"They didn't want to do it in the middle of the summer when there weren't any students there," said police spokeswoman Sherry Mercurio. "This will get the word out to as many people as possible, so that's why it was timed when it was."

The poster will be placed throughout the Ohio State campus area, distributed by e-mail and handed out at other area colleges and universities.

Two Ohio State students and three from Ohio University were killed in the fire at a three-story rooming house near campus on April 13. Police arrested one suspect in August, but later dropped the charges.

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