An off-campus apartment fire that forced a dozen Ohio State students from their residences early Sunday morning wasn’t an accident, the landlord of the property said.
Bryan Dulle, 1st Place Realty landlord, said three pedestrians saw a white man set fire to a couch on the front porch of his property at 1706 Summit St. at about 3 a.m. on Sunday.
“It appears that it was definitely arson,” Dulle said.
But Columbus Division of Fire Battalion Chief Tracy Smith said investigators had not determined a cause of the fire as of Sunday morning. She said the fire is still under investigation.
Dulle said the fire started with the couch on the porch but spread to other parts of the building. He said three of the four units have smoke damage as a result and that the other unit is even worse.
“The front porch is gone,” Dulle said. “And one unit — we’re talking a lot of damage.”
Dulle said the cost of the damage had not yet been determined as of Sunday afternoon.
Because of that damage, 12 OSU students were relocated from the apartment, Smith said.
“Student Life Student Advocacy is working with all of the students impacted by the fire, notifying instructors about the situation, and helping them find alternative housing as needed,” Student Life spokesman Dave Isaacs said in a Sunday email. “We will continue to provide long and short term assistance as required.”
Nobody was injured in the fire, Dulle said.
“The first thing (going through my mind) of course was no one was hurt, and I was relieved,” he said.
The Red Cross was called to the scene to help the tenants find a place to stay, a Columbus Fire dispatcher said. Dulle said OSU also helped the students find other places to live, although Dulle did not know where those places were.
He also said no one has been arrested in connection to the fire.