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Monday, October 19, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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After rash of fires, WSU adding cameras

Washington State University police have increased surveillance in light of the recent rash of suspicious fires on the Pullman campus.

Prior to the four fires that occurred between May 22 and June 5, the campus had five or six cameras mounted in intersections and on walls outside buildings, said Steve Hansen, assistant chief of the WSU Police Department. But since the third fire on May 29 in McCoy Hall, police have added about 10 or 15 portable cameras in various undisclosed locations, Hansen said.

“We’re reviewing some of the footage to see if we have any useful information,” he said.

So far, no suspicious footage has emerged, Hansen said. WSU police are leading an arson task force that continues to investigate the fires. The group also includes the Pullman police and fire departments and the WSU Fire Marshal’s Office.

WSU police have also had more foot patrols on campus each night since the string of fires began.

Evidence from each fire has been sent to the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab in Cheney for analysis.

Police are still not sure if the fires are connected or whether one or more people were involved in setting them.

The most recent fire, set inside a concrete stairwell in the Fine Arts Center garage, caused minimal damage, leaving char marks on a wall. The first three racked up more than $800,000 in damage, destroying two community centers in university-owned apartments and ruining lab equipment in McCoy Hall. No one was hurt in any of the fires.

WSU police have set up an anonymous arson tip line for anyone with information about the fires, but few calls have come in so far, Hansen said.

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