Two Georgetown freshmen were arrested after allegedly setting a fire in Darnall Hall on Dec. 17.
Metropolitan Police Department officers detained Samuel Lovejoy (COL ’08) and Luke Warring (COL ’08) on suspicion of arson. Prosecutors later dropped all criminal charges against the students, but university officials declined to say whether they have been charged with a violation of the student code of conduct, citing privacy concerns.
Arson is listed as a category C violation of the code of conduct and is punishable by suspension or expulsion.
Channing Phillips, spokesman for the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, said that prosecutors could file criminal charges later if additional evidence is discovered.
Both students declined comment when contacted by phone.
According to D.C. Fire Department spokesman Alan Etter, the incident started at about 3 a.m. when someone set fire to piles of leaves and paper in a Darnall Hall stairwell. The residence hall was quickly evacuated and by the time emergency personnel responded, the fire had burned itself out, he said. Damage was limited to a small hole in a stairwell wall. Firefighters cleared smoke from the building before allowing students back inside.
Police accounts said that Lovejoy and Warring admitted to starting the fire when questioned by fire marshals immediately after the incident. According to an MPD incident report, the students were intoxicated and set the fire with matches.
In a broadcast email sent to Darnall residents, Christine Anthony, the area coordinator for Henle Village, said that she was “deeply concerned about this incident.”
“The university and local law enforcement are actively investigating the matter and have been in contact with those community members allegedly responsible,” she said.
Some students said that there have been so many fire alarms in Darnall that some residents now ignore them.
“It happens so much now that my roommate and I didn’t really hurry,” Blair Gilbert (COL ’08) said. “So we went to the stairs and it was really packed, and everyone was griping because a lot of people, like my roommate, had tests coming up.”
Residents waited in the Georgetown University Medical Center parking lot before they were allowed back into their rooms.
David Morrell, vice president for university safety, expressed relief that the fire had been small.
“The university takes any incident involving fire in their facilities very seriously,” he said. “We’re thankful that that this was quickly reported and extinguished before there was severe injury or damage.”
Warring is an offensive linesman with Georgetown’s football team, and Lovejoy plays club rugby.
Georgetown Rugby Coach J.P. Perez expressed surprise at the allegations Sunday.
“I coached Sam in high school and this sounds totally out of character for him,” he said.
Both Perez and Senior Sports Communications Director Bill Shapland said they could take disciplinary action against the students if the university finds them responsible for the incident.