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Ex-Student Charged 23 Years After School Burned to Ground

Fingerprint on fire extinguisher was key
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 26, 2019 11:15 AM CDT
Daniel Scott Harris.   (Berkeley County Sheriff's Office)

(Newser) – A man has been charged with burning down his high school—23 years ago. Macedonia High School in South Carolina was "totally destroyed" in the Aug. 4, 1996, arson, in which books, papers, and other materials were set alight in hallways, according to Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis. Only recently did investigators discover they had "a match on a set of fingerprints that at the time was in a unique place that would have indicated involvement in this crime," Lewis says, per ABC News. WCSC reports the prints came from a fire extinguisher used to damage electronic equipment before flames erupted. There were smashed windows and vandalized trophy cases, too, per WJLA.

Daniel Scott Harris—a 17-year-old student at the school in 1996—was arrested Tuesday on charges of second-degree arson and second-degree burglary. But investigators don't believe he acted alone and are urging anyone with information to come forward. "I can only pray [that] the guilty parties will fully understand that they did far more than burn down a building," Berkeley County School District Superintendent Eddie Ingram says, per WCSC. "Schools ... are the heart and soul of every person that ever walked through the doors." There's proof of that in the effort to salvage the original school bell. Now displayed at the school district headquarters, it was rung last month to mark the start of the school year. (Read more arson stories.)

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