Lincoln, Neb. school employee accused in fire at district offices

LINCOLN, Neb. --

A school employee has been arrested in connection with a Memorial Day fire at the Lincoln Public Schools district headquarters.

Authorities said Sharon Brewster, 44, was arrested at noon on Monday on a charge of first-degree arson.

Brewster was working in the administrative offices, but had taught the district's gifted program and reading recovery at Saratoga Elementary.

On May 30, a district administrator working in the building late noticed smoke around 11 p.m. More than 70 firefighters responded to the blaze; two suffered minor injuries while battling the fire.

Fire inspectors determined that the fire originated on top of a desk in a cubicle. Written statements provided early in the investigation led to Brewster as a suspect, authorities said.

Lincoln police said Brewster had been in the building to drop off records just before the fire. Investigators tell KETV NewsWatch 7 that Brewster used a lighter and a piece of paper to start the fire.

School officials call it a despicable act.

"We are shocked and saddened by the news. It was horrible to think of an accident destroying our building, but an intentional act is even more difficult to comprehend," said Dr. Steve Joel, superintendent of schools.

The building was destroyed in the blaze.

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