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Student Arrested After Failing to Trigger Fire Alarm in Simmons Hall

Penn State student Benjamin Bishop is being held in the Centre County Correctional Facility for charges related to arson after he attempted to set off the fire alarm at a campus residence hall, according to university police.

Early Tuesday morning, campus police responded to Simmons Hall after receiving a report from an employee in the building about suspected arson. The officers found burnt paper and a charred pack of cigarettes near the stairwell. Video surveillance shows a man, later identified as Bishop, trying to set off the alarm by first lighting a cigarette, and after that proved unsuccessful, by burning the pack and papers attached to a door in the building.

benjamin bishop
Bishop after turning himself in.

According to police, Bishop turned himself in later that day. He explained that he had a fight with his girlfriend who lives in Simmons hall right before the incident. Bishop reported that he had been drinking and had failed to take his anxiety medication that day. He says he was ultimately trying to set off the fire alarm and cause an evacuation to irritate his girlfriend as a result of their fight. Bishop was trying to “annoy her back,” according to court documents.

Bishop was charged with arson endangering persons, arson endangering property, possession of explosive or incendiary materials or devices, causing or risking catastrophe, and disorderly conduct. He was arraigned on Wednesday morning and held on $100,000 bail. His preliminary hearing is set for August 12.

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About the Author

Carolyn Popescu

Current senior studying Advertising and Visual Arts, Carolyn has a passion for entertainment and music. She also loves photography, film, graphic design, social media, and all things in between. She's the current Sony Music Marketing Representative for State College, so be sure to reach out to her with any local music scene questions, ideas, proposals, or if you just need someone to geek out about music with.

(Contact her through [email protected] or [email protected])


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