St. Lawrence Seminary fire considered suspicious

Fire investigation
Fire investigation

MT. CALVARY – The oldest building at St. Lawrence Seminary is being demolished. And now investigators say the fire that destroyed it may have been set on purpose.

A student is in custody for allegedly taking money from the school in Mt. Calvary. But for now, they say he isn’t a suspect in the suspicious fire.

What’s left of the walls of St. Joseph Hall came Friday as the investigation ramped up.

“Shortly after the fire investigators learned of some money that should have been in the area where the fire was, they determined the money was missing,” said Fond du Lac Sheriff’s Department Captain Rick Olig.

The money was reported stolen on March 13, five days after the fire. A day later, Olig says a 15-year-old student from Milwaukee was found with a similar amount of cash. The money was held in a part of the building that is now buried under rubble. It’s part of the reason Olig says it could take weeks before the investigation to be completed.

“This is far from over, we’ve got a lot of work to do yet,” said Olig.

That includes finding a cause of the fire.

Olig says as of now the 15-year-old student is not a suspect in the blaze.

“It’s too early to say that. We know he is involved with the theft of the money and his connection with the fire is what we are still working on,” said Olig.

School officials are saying little about the investigation.

“Most importantly we are praying for everyone involved,” said St. Lawrence Seminary Marketing and Public Relations Director Philip Van Ermen.

But they say as demolition continues, Van Ermen says so does work to get the main classroom building ready for when students return from spring break next week.

“We are operating out of a conference room right now and everyone has been pitching in and we are kind of keeping things running as normal and we’re very close to that goal of having all the classrooms back and operable on Monday morning,” said Van Ermen.

Since the fire 15 classrooms have been spread to other areas of campus.

Investigators say they will be interviewing a number of students next week, when they return from spring break.