Perrysburg student not to be charged for 3-car fire in school parking lot

Two burned-out cars outside of Perrysburg High School.
Two burned-out cars outside of Perrysburg High School.

A Perrysburg High School junior will not be charged for starting three vehicles on fire in the school's parking lot when he lit a hoodie string on fire in an attempt to remove it from the sweatshirt and use it as a belt.

Perrysburg police report that since the Feb. 21 fire was started accidentally, there will be no charges filed against Derek Roth, 16.

Police reports state the high school junior went to his car at 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 21 to get his math book, and while there, he tried to make a belt out of the string on his hoodie because his pants had been falling down throughout the day. When he was unable to remove the string, he tried to light it on fire to break the string, the report states, but then he put the hoodie in his back seat and smelled smoke.

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Det. Patrick Jones' report said young Roth then saw flames in his back seat, reached in and grabbed the flaming hoodie and threw it on the ground, stomping out the fire. He returned to the school, with burn marks on his right hand, police said.

A security camera at the school showed the police that the teen's story was accurate, police said. But later, the fire restarted,engulfing a silver 2005 Chevy four-door in flames. The hoodie was later found under the 2005 Chevy.

The 2005 Chevy was parked between the high school junior's 1996 maroon Jeep Grand Cherokee, and a 2008 white Saturn four-door. All three vehicles were damaged, the reports state.

Perrysburg Deputy Chief Michael Gilmore said the young Roth's vehicle had little damage while the Chevy was "looked pretty much destroyed," and the Saturn had quite a bit of damage. He did not have a damage estimate available.

All the vehicles were towed. Search warrants were obtained by police to check for more evidence.

"Upon examining the underside of the Chevy, it appeared that the fuel line had melted from the item that was burning under it, causing gas to spray onto the burning item," Detective Jones report said.

The police also used search warrants to look through the young Roth's phone records and texts, and police said those did not indicate the incident was intentional.

Contact Matt Thompson at: or 419-356-8786 or on twitter at @mthompson25.