June 1, 2012 in Region

WSU: Cost of suspicious fires to top $800,000

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Three suspicious fires that recently left two buildings in ruins on Washington State University’s Pullman campus caused an estimated $860,000 in damage.

The fires broke out in two university-owned apartment complexes and a veterinary research facility in the span of one week. The short time frame and close vicinity for each of the blazes has led investigators to deem the fires suspicious.

The worst damage occurred on May 26 at the community center for the Chief Joseph Village apartments. University officials project it will cost $480,000 to replace the charred building.

Firefighters arrived at the scene of the most recent fire in McCoy Hall early Tuesday morning. Sprinklers quelled the flames and spared the building, but the water and fire together took an $80,000 toll, mainly destroying furniture and lab equipment.

Mayor Glenn Johnson, who acts as a spokesman for the Pullman Fire Department, said it’s clear that an arsonist is responsible for the McCoy fire. The scene showed signs of a break-in and several spots where someone ignited materials found in the building.

The first fire erupted at the community center for the Nez Perce Village apartments on May 22, less than a mile away from the second fire. Replacing the building will come at an estimated cost of $300,000.

An investigation into the fires continues at the State Patrol crime lab in Cheney. Pullman and WSU police and fire marshals from the area are involved in the investigation.


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