UTC Student Charged In Arson That Caused Evacuation Of Some 400 Students

  • Tuesday, January 24, 2023

A UTC student has been charged with aggravated arson in connection with a small fire that caused the evacuation of some 400 students.

Justin M. Madge, 18, of Franklin, Tn., is charged in the case.

Police were dispatched on Sunday at 9 p.m. to 515 Vine St. on a fire alarm. An officer said as soon as he opened the door on the sixth floor he found that a heavy cloud of smoke had formed and made breathing in the hallway difficult.

One officer put out the fire with a fire extinguisher.

The Fire Department arrived and ventilated the entire building. 

Police said the item that was on fire was a hand sanitizer dispenser on the wall. Video showed Madge had been next to the dispenser and seemed to be doing something with it. About two minutes later the entire dispenser caught on fire.

Police said about an hour later Madge called and said he might have caused the dispenser to catch fire by accident. He said he had not realized that it was flammable. He handed over a lighter that was used to start the fire.

The student was taken to jail.

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