GRPD: Hospital arson suspect made it onto helipad

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A man is in custody after Grand Rapids police say he lit a small fire in the hallway of Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital before making his way to the hospital's helipad.

The incident happened around 8:20 a.m. Wednesday at the hospital, located at 100 Michigan Street NE. 

Police say the suspect started the fire in an upper level used for mechanical purposes. He also pulled a fire alarm, investigators say.

Police say the fire caused only minimal damage before hospital security took the suspect into custody. No one was injured, according to police.

Spectrum Health spokesman Bruce Rossman said the incident didn't impact hospital operations and the helistop remains open. 

"The safety of patients, visitors and staff are a priority at Spectrum Health, and people were not at risk during this incident," he stated.

Spectrum Health officials pointed out the helipad is a secured location, meaning only hospital employees should have access to it. However, a spokesperson for the hospital confirmed the suspect is not a hospital employee.

Grand Rapids Police Department Sgt. Cathy Williams says officers are reviewing hospital security video to try to determine how the suspect got onto the helipad.

Williams is not releasing the suspect’s name at this time, but says detectives are interviewing him to figure out a motive and determine what charges he could face.

Rossman says hospital security responded quickly, as did Grand Rapids police and firefighters. He says Spectrum Health is cooperating with police but will not comment further at this time, since the investigation is active.

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