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June 1, 2012 at 11:43 AM

Three suspicious fires at WSU cause $800,000 in damage

A series of suspected arsons on Washington State University’s Pullman campus have caused more than $800,000 in damage, and campus police are advising faculty and students to report anything suspicious.

The most recent fire happened early Tuesday and damaged a laboratory in an annex of McCoy Hall, the school’s original veterinary teaching hospital, said spokesman Darin Watkins. ┬áThe hall was damaged by several different fires that appear to have been intentionally set. An automatic sprinkler system extinguished the blazes, limiting the damage to about $80,000.

Earlier in the week, the community center structures at Nez Perce Village and Chief Joseph Village apartments were both destroyed by fire. Students living in the adjacent apartments were temporarily evacuated while firefighters fought the blaze, but there was no damage to apartments and everyone was able to return home, Watkins said.

The cost to replace the Nez Perce community center is estimated at $300,000, and the cost to replace the Chief Joseph center and repair damage to surrounding buildings is estimaed at $480,000.

An arson task force has been formed to investigate the fires and includes WSU Police, the WSU fire marshall, Pullman Fire Department and Pullman police.

University officials are asking anyone with knowledge of the fires to call either the WSU Police Department at 509-335-8548 or the Pullman Fire Department at 509-332-8172.

WSU is currently on summer break. About 5,000 students are living on campus during the summer.

Comments | More in Education, The Blotter | Topics: arson, fires, WSU

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