Police say student started WCU fire in dorm’s elevator

This story was originally published in The Sylva Herald.

Police say a Western Carolina University student set the Feb. 13 fire in Walker Residence Hall that forced hundreds of students to evacuate.

Byron Young, 18, a WCU freshman from Winston-Salem, faces a felony criminal charge of burn certain public buildings. If convicted, he could face 10 to 41 months in jail, based on the state’s structured-sentencing law.

Young on Wednesday declined to comment.

Two state arson experts and an arson dog helped investigate the fire, called in at 5:15 p.m. on a Tuesday from the 400-student, nine-floor dorm. Campus police officers put out the fire using a hand-held extinguisher. Damage was limited to the area around the elevator.

The building reopened at about 10:17 p.m.

Young declared a major in sport management. He is a 2016 graduate of East Forsyth High School, according to WCU officials.

The student posted a $3,000 secured bond after being arrested Feb. 22 in Winston-Salem. He is scheduled to appear Tuesday, March 14, in a Jackson County courtroom.