The Liberty Township Fire Department and the Powell Police Department are offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the person or persons who set a fire in the men's restroom in Arbor Ridge Park, 500 Bennett Parkway, Powell.

The Liberty Township Fire Department and the Powell Police Department are offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the person or persons who set a fire in the men's restroom in Arbor Ridge Park, 500 Bennett Parkway, Powell.

Two paper-towel dispensers and a trash bin were set on fire between late Sunday, Sept.7 and early Monday, Sept. 8.

"We suspect it was probably a youth," Powell police Chief Gary Vest said. "Typically a paper fire is a youth (teenager), not an adult."

It is undetermined whether the arsonist used accelerant, detective Darren Smith said. The two departments are waiting on a lab report from the state fire marshal's office, he said.

Fire department Lt. Sally McCann-Mirise arranged the reward through the Ohio Blue Ribbon Arson Committee. The committee works with firefighters and insurance companies to reduce arson, McCann-Mirise said.

The fire caused $3,500 damage to taxpayer property, Vest said, including two paper-towel dispensers, a trash bin and paint and smoke damage to the ceilings and walls.

The public restroom was built in 2006, Vest said. It is now closed until repairs are made. Citywide, public restrooms, which prior to the arson were left open for public use, are locked at dusk.

Vest encourages community members to be vigilant and report "youth in a prankster mind set."

The ramifications of such acts are many, Vest said, "You lose a facility that people use. It has to be inspected and repaired, and insurance costs for the city can be affected. Something like this may start as mischievous behavior and could evolve into bigger crimes," he said. "There are risks. We were fortunate that (the building) was unoccupied and it burnt itself out. It could have caused more damage."

Such acts "tie up manpower and expensive equipment on a situation that shouldn't have happened -- fire play," McCann-Mirise said.

"The unfortunate part is that unless the behavior is corrected, people who enjoy setting things on fire might get involved in something more risky than a park restroom," Vest said. "We want to correct this problem, identify the individual and prevent this in the future by having the community involved in monitoring."

To report information pertaining to the fire, contact the fire department at (740) 938-2027 or the police department at (614) 885-3374.