Fire That Destroyed Library Is Ruled Arson

PERRY HEIGHTS, Ohio (AP) - A fire that destroyed a library last weekend was ruled an arson on Tuesday.

The fire about 3:30 a.m. Saturday at the Perry Heights branch of the Stark County District Library near Canton caused an estimated $2 million in damage. Some of the books destroyed were out of print and considered irreplaceable.

Perry Township Fire Chief Gary Justice said his investigation and the state fire marshal's staff determined the fire was intentionally set.

Justice said he could not discuss specifics because the matter is now a criminal case.

"We're relying on their investigation. We're horrified that it was an arson," said Kent Oliver, director of the Stark County District Library. He said a mobile library will be available in the burned library's parking lot starting Wednesday.

The 38-year-old, single-story brick building contained almost 54,000 items, including books, videos and audio cassettes.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)