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Teacher charged with arson


XENIA — The wife of a Xenia firefighter has been charged in relation to a fire that investigators allege she set at a Xenia childcare center in March.

Erika VanDyne, of Xenia, was indicted last month on four charges – first-degree felony aggravated arson, fifth degree felony inducing panic, first degree misdemeanor arson and third degree felony tampering with evidence – in relation to a small fire at the Xenia KinderCare Learning Center on Bellbrook Avenue March 3.

VanDyne pleaded not guilty to the four charges Aug. 14.

According to a corporate spokeswoman for KinderCare, VanDyne, who is a preschool teacher at the school, has been on administrative leave since March.

According to Greene County Prosecutor Stephen Haller, fire crews were called to the learning center twice on March 3.

“There was a first call [that] was over what turned out to be a liquid spill,” he said. “The fire department cleaned it up and then were called back out again that morning because there was smoke coming out of a storage room and there was a small fire. It was put out with a fire extinguisher before the fire department got there.”

Haller said the fire was considered suspicious because of where it was located. According to Haller, the liquid referenced was some sort of accelerant.

“It appeared it was the same accelerant or the same liquid that they had got called out for earlier,” he said. “It appeared to have been how the fire got started.”

Damage from the fire was minimal, but 29 children and 10 adults were evacuated from the building.

Erika VanDyne is the wife of Xenia Fire Department Lt. Josh VanDyne, according to Greene County Probate Court records.

Jay Adams, Erika VanDyne’s attorney, was unavailable for comment Tuesday.

A final pre-trial hearing for the case is set for Sept. 24.

The small fire in question took place at the KinderCare on Bellbrook Avenue in Xenia.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2015/08/web1_fire.jpgThe small fire in question took place at the KinderCare on Bellbrook Avenue in Xenia. Nathan Pilling | Greene County News

By Nathan Pilling

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Reach Nathan Pilling at 937-502-4498 or on Twitter @XDGNatePilling.