Prosecutors have charged a woman accused of starting a fire in a Tulsa Central Library bathroom.

Sara Bess, 18, who was arrested Feb. 20 in downtown Tulsa by Tulsa police and fire department investigators, is charged with one count of first-degree arson. She remains held in the Tulsa County jail on a $20,000 bond.

Firefighters responded about 4 p.m. Feb. 19 to the Tulsa City County Library at 400 Civic Center after smoke began filling the second and third floors. It was later determined a baby changing station in a second-floor bathroom was on fire before fire sprinklers extinguished it.

Bess was reportedly identified by security footage and found near Ninth Street and Denver Avenue the next day by TPD’s IMPACT unit and Tulsa fire marshals. She told police she came to the Tulsa area from Okmulgee a few months prior and has since experienced homelessness, according to a social media post from the Tulsa Police Department.

Although the library remains closed, the Starbucks on the first floor is open under modified hours of 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Remediation crews are working on smoke, fire and localized water damage in an attempt to reopen the first floor as soon as possible. An insurance investigation was completed Tuesday.

Staff Writer

Stetson covers breaking news, general assignment and other stories. He previously worked at the Enterprise-Journal in Mississippi. He is from Broken Arrow and graduated with a journalism degree from Oklahoma State University. Phone: 918-581-8466

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