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UH student charged with arson in fire at University Lofts, police say

Police said the student also tried to set fire at a convenience store on campus.

HOUSTON — A University of Houston student was arrested after he intentionally started two fires on Monday night, according to UH police.

Kevin Bompika Ekofo, 26, is facing arson charges.

UH police said the first fire set by Ekofo was inside his dorm room at University Lofts on Martin Luther King near Spur 5. That fire was extinguished by the building’s fire suppression system.

Authorities said, Ekofo also tried to set a fire outside a campus convenience store at the Cougar Village I building. That is where they said he was spotted and arrested.

No injuries were reported in either fire.

The Houston Fire Department Arson Bureau was contacted and handled the scene investigation. UHPD contacted the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, which accepted charges for arson.

Ekofo was taken to the Harris County Jail.

Court appearance

In court on Tuesday, prosecutors said Ekofo started the fire because he wanted to and because he could.

They said he was caught while riding a bicycle and carrying gasoline. His bond was set at $100,000.

According to authorities, he will be placed on house arrest and will have to wear an ankle monitor. He also can't go within 200 feet of any University of Houston campus. He also can't possess any weapons.

Student impact

The damage caused headaches for many students on campus since this week is move-in week. They said they don't understand how a fellow classmate would do such a thing.

"It's absolutely crazy. I am trying to sleep at 1 a.m. and the fire marshal is knocking on my door," one student said.

UH said about 293 students live in the building. They said Ekofo lives on the 4th floor and the fire he set there only impacted his room. UH said the sprinkler system impacted the 2nd and 3rd floors, displacing about 60 students. The displaced students were provided with emergency housing.

"It's very concerning. I have been living here for over a year. It's one of the safest dorms on campus," another student said.

It's unclear if UH will let Ekofo back on campus. It's also unclear how long it will take for the damaged dorms to be repaired.

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