Fire Alarm System Fails During Fire at a Mississippi University

Two women were charged with arson for the dorm fire at Mississippi Valley State University last week, officials said.

Maria Johnson, 22, of Itta Bena, and Tiffany Hall, 22, of Greenwood, were arrested for the fire that broke out on Wednesday.

"The arrests were made by our police in connection with our investigation," Dr. Roy Hudson, vice president of university relations, said on Saturday afternoon.

The fire started early Wednesday morning in an upperclassman dorm. The damage was limited to four rooms - two completely destroyed, the others severely damaged.

Students in the dorms said that fire alarms failed to go off and that it was left up to dorm residents to alert those still sleeping.

Two students were treated and released from Greenwood Leflore Hospital for smoke inhalation.

The state fire marshal is investigating the fire and the failure of the fire alarm system.

The school helped students clean their clothes after the fire and university insurance will likely cover any lost property.

It could be Saturday before the 88 students displaced by the fire are back in the dorm, said Gerald Peoples, vice president of student affairs.