Youngstown daycare fire ruled arson; reward being offered

A $5,000 reward is being offered for information on who may have started the fire

Concepts of Learning Preschool and Baby Land caught fire around 2:00 a.m. Sunday.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – A fire at a Glenwood Avenue daycare as been ruled an arson, according to the Youngstown Fire Department.

Concepts of Learning Preschool and Baby Land caught fire around 2 a.m. Sunday. The daycare said it will be closed until further notice as a result of damage from the fire.

On Monday, insurance agents documented all of the damage at Concepts of Learning.

“From the front of the building, it doesn’t look like there’s much damage at all but unfortunately, inside there’s significant smoke damage,” said Capt. Kurt Wright.

The fire started early Sunday morning when no one was inside. It quickly spread throughout the building, hitting Soul Foods next door, which has some smoke damage

Investigators found what appears to be four separate areas ignited throughout the building.

“None of those areas touched. They were, again, in separate areas of the building,” Wright said.

The weather gave fire crews difficulty while trying to put the fire out, and off-duty fire crews were called in to help.

During the investigation, Youngstown Police found that money had been stolen from a safe in the business.

“We’re able to have crews check on that location and determine that the safe was open and emptied,” Wright said.

The building does have surveillance cameras. Fire investigators are working with police to go over the footage.

In June, Concepts of Learning had to evacuate when someone sent a suspicious letter and said there were explosives inside. Investigators searched the building, but didn’t find anything. It is unknown whether that incident is related to the fire.

“I’m going to be contacting YPD as well as the sheriff’s department for any information that they can give me,” Wright said.

The building’s owner said she doesn’t understand why someone would do this, and that it’s too soon to know if she’ll reopen.

A $5,000 reward is being offered through Ohio Blue Ribbon Arson Committee for information on who may have started the fire. Tips can be called in at 330-782-0055.

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