Arrest Made After Fire Destroyed School Storage Sheds

The suspect spent time in the school district's agriculture barn before the fires broke out in the sheds outside.
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WACO (August 15, 2014) An arrest has been made after a vandal set the fire that destroyed one storage shed and heavily damaged a second shed outside of the Midway ISD’s $600,000 agriculture barn last month, Hewitt police Chief Jim Devin said.

Trenton Andrew Ortner, 26, was arrested Friday on arson charges, a second degree felony.

Ortner was identified after the Hewitt police department received an anonymous tip Tuesday.

The incident occurred on July 21st at Midway High School.

A fan in the barn was vandalized and the surveillance images show him hugging and petting, but not harming some of the animals inside.

The vandal set fire to the two storage sheds, which were built by students at a cost of $5,000 to $6,000 each, Midway ISD Superintendent Dr. George Kazanas said.

Police described the suspect as a tall white male with tattoos who was wearing a sleeveless black T-shirt known as a “wife beater,” and a ball cap.

The fire was reported at around 4:40 a.m. Thursday July 31 at the Midway ISD FFA Agricultural Science Instructional Facility at 10401 Panther Way.

Flames engulfed the sheds when the first crew arrived, Assistant Waco Fire Chief Patrick Kerwin said.

Hewitt firefighters arrived shortly afterward to assist in battling the flames.

Firefighters had the fire under control in less than 10 minutes but they didn’t leave the scene until after 6 a.m., Kerwin said.

Both buildings, approximately 10-by-12 feet in size, were used to store feed and hay, Kerwin said.

The barn and the storage sheds occupy a 20-acre site off Panther Way.

The 36,000-square foot barn, which includes pens for dozens of lambs, goats, pigs and cattle, was paid for with money left over from a $75.8 million bond issue in 2008.