Viterbo: Student arrested after starting fire in lounge trash

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — A Viterbo University student was arrested after starting a fire in a lounge trash, according to the university.

Rick Trietley, Executive Vice President for Student Success, sent out a notice Sunday that the fire alarm went off early Sunday morning in the Marian Hall residence building. According to the university, residents evacuated within minutes and no one was injured.

“The fire originated and was contained in a lounge trash receptacle. A campus safety officer on duty extinguished the fire before firefighters arrived. The La Crosse Fire Department ventilated the building and departed the scene,” according to Trietley.

Trietley said the student was arrested and accused of arson and mishandling of flammable objects, then removed from campus Sunday. The university held a student session Sunday afternoon with Marian Hall residents to discuss the incident, and one for all students an hour later.

“This situation is difficult and continues to develop. Time and grace are needed for our community to begin to heal and move forward. Our university and Franciscan values will guide us as we navigate this new challenge,” Trietley said.

He pointed to several resources for students if necessary:

  • Counseling Services: Counseling Services is available to students remotely and on campus. Visit for more information or contact LeeAnn Van Vreede, Director of Counseling Services, at .
  • My SSP (My Student Support Program): My SSP is a 24/7 resource for our undergraduate and international students to utilize when they are in crisis and need additional support when our campus offices are closed. Students will be able to talk to or chat with a licensed mental health counselor at any time or anywhere in their native language.
  • Dialogue in the Diversity Lounge: Join Megan Pierce, director of International & Intercultural student success to share and process events at Viterbo and nationally in a low-key and informal setting. Scheduled this week for Monday at 9 am and Thursday at Noon
  • Campus Ministry: Campus Ministry provides a variety of resources both in-person and virtually to connect and find support and validation
  • Viterbo Speaks Up: Viterbo Speaks Up ( is an essential tool for students to report crimes concerning behavior, discrimination, harassment, or general student concerns.