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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, November 09, 2017 1:00 am

Ex-IPFW student facing charges in parking garage fire

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette

What Brittney Jayme Ellert was holding in her right hand on Aug. 26 isn't clear. It looked like a standard CD, white in color.

In her left hand was a small, black cylindrical shaped object that appeared to be a butane torch.

Ellert, 31, of the 1300 block of Georgetowne Park Drive was charged Wednesday with arson. She was seen on surveillance video putting the two items in a trash can at the southwest entrance of IPFW's No. 3 parking garage at 11:03 a.m., according to court documents.

She ignites the contents of the trash can, court documents said, and at 11:05 a.m. she walks out of the doorway of the parking garage with the lighter in her right hand. From there, she returns to the Visual Arts building, entering through the north main door where she was attending a class.

Court documents said the trash can starts to smoke at 11:05 a.m. and the first flames erupt at 11:07. The bottom of the trash can is actively burning at 11:25, and at 11:32, the trash can is fully engulfed. Five minutes later, a campus police officer uses a fire extinguisher to put out the flames.

At 11:39 a.m., documents said, Ellert is seen again on camera leaving the Visual Arts building along with an unidentified man.

She's wearing a red jacket instead of the gray one she wore to light the fire and a camouflage baseball hat, documents said. She's carrying two large black bags she arrived with about 9 a.m. when she parked her car about 90 feet away from the trash can.

A couple of minutes later, she gets into her car and leaves the parking garage, court documents said.

Nicole Hahn, IPFW public relations specialist, said Ellert is currently not a student, but at one point was enrolled at the university. Hahn said the university would not comment on a possible motive. There is a warrant for Ellert's arrest. Her bond will most likely be $10,000, an Allen County Jail spokesman said.

jduffy@jg.net