TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - An 18-year-old man is accused of being involved in connection with a fire at the shuttered Aurora Academy in east Toledo on Tuesday morning.
The fire happened on Clark Street and Nevada at Aurora Academy around 1 a.m. The vacant school sits next to Good Shepherd Catholic Church, which also has been closed for years.
Ethan Fankhauser, 18, was charged with two accounts of aggravated arson. Another suspect, Austin Bradshaw, a minor, also was taken into custody. Fankhauser is not qualified to be represented by a public defender and will return to court Wednesday after he secures an attorney. Bail was set for Fankhauser at $100,000 at no percent for each count. There is also a no-contact order with the Aurora property.
Crews were on the scene for more than two hours Tuesday morning and contained the fire to the basement area, where it was said to have started. Flames and thick smoke were coming out of the building when firefighters arrived at the scene.
Police say two firefighters were injured battling the flames, but will be OK.
"There were a lot of crews. The reason is, it's a big building and we wanted to make sure that the fire was localized and didn't run away from us. So, we had a lot of crews operating on different floors making sure that it stayed right in that basement," said Toledo Fire Battalion Chief Bob Krause.
The battalion chief said the vacant building has had many unwanted guests breaking in over the years.
"The school hasn't been officially occupied since 2015. They've had a variety of inappropriate occupants, but those are kids in the neighborhood breaking in," Krause said. "They're gaining entry into it via other means and the diocese is working to stop that. I spoke to the property management and they're working to do that."
An arson investigation is underway.