Student accused of setting fire to University of Houston dorm building, damaging 4 floors

Wednesday, August 17, 2022
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Kevin Ekofo is charged with arson, accused of starting a fire that damaged four floors at the University Lofts on the University of Houston campus.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A student accused of starting a fire at a University of Houston residence hall was charged with arson.

Video from the scene showed students waiting outside with their belongings after being evacuated from the University Lofts on MLK Boulevard on Monday night.

"The entire south hall is coated in gasoline. My shoes are squishing," James, a student who lives in the building, said. "The smell is pungent. It was horrible. They got everybody out of the building."

According to charging documents, 26-year-old Kevin Ekofo used flammable liquid to start the fire that damaged four floors of the building "because he wanted to and because he could." Officials say he was arrested after being found on a bicycle with a red gas can.

UH Police Department Capt. Bret Collier said the fire was quickly extinguished by the building's fire suppression system.

Collier said Ekofo also attempted to set a fire outside a campus convenience store at the Cougar Village I building, where he was spotted and arrested.

The damage was reportedly limited to several rooms. Students who live in those rooms were provided alternative arrangements, officials said.

A judge set Ekofo's bond at $100,000 and added that he posed a public threat.

Bond conditions include a curfew, electronic monitoring, and staying at least 200 feet from any University of Houston campuses.

According to school officials, as of Monday, 31 rooms were impacted and 34 students can't return to their dorms. With school starting back up Monday, many of the students were forced to relocate, some did not even move in yet.