MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — Investigators have not yet identified a suspect in the fire at the Boys and Girls Club in Muskegon that was determined to be arson.
Someone is believed to have set multiple fires inside the racquetball court inside the building on W. Western Avenue near Division Street before 7 a.m. Saturday. Firefighters were able to put them out quickly.
“This doesn’t feel like a random act. It seems very intentionally set and the vandalism seems very specific. So yeah, it does feel like a target, unfortunately,” CEO Monica Turnbull told News 8.
The building sustained smoke and soot damage throughout. Turnbull said there was also something written in paint on one of the walls, though she wouldn’t say what it said.
“It’s going to be a lot to clean up,” she said.
The Muskegon Fire Department confirmed the fire was arson, it said Monday. Michigan State Police have joined Muskegon firefighters and police in investigating. Crews were back at the building Monday morning to continue looking for clues.
The building was nearing the end of renovations and was supposed to reopen late next week. That won’t happen. Turnbull didn’t yet have an estimated reopening date but did say it could be up to two more months.
“At first (I was) shocked and now I’m pretty upset and angry,” Turnbull said. “Because this is a space for the community and for our youth. And for this to have happened two weeks out from (our) opening and being able to increase from 50 kids to 300 and also have our fitness center open where over a 1,000 people a day (are) projected (to use) that space and unfortunately someone came in and did this, and now we’re put behind. And that impacts our ability to serve the community.”
Turnbull said someone broke into the construction site in July and stole tools and local supplies. An indoor camera was installed after that but Turnbull said it wasn’t working when the fires were set due to a problem with the battery.
She said the club’s insurance adjuster was working to determine how much the damage will cost the organization in the long run.