Arson Investigation for Friday Fire

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Campus Police Chief Michael Cash said in a global email sent to SWC staff that there is currently an open arson investigation into the fire that was started in the men’s 500 building restroom Friday.

Things were heating up when custodians discovered smoke coming from the facility on November 7.

At the time, Campus Police Sergeant Robert Sanchez said little was known about the situation except it may have been an electrical fire. It has now been deemed a crime scene, said Cash.

Cash said the restroom would be closed until further notice due to the damage from the smoke and fire.

Daytime custodian Burk Romero said a young Asian man alerted him and student worker Amabelle Rishah to the blaze.

“(The man) kind of pointed and said ‘there’s some smoke over here,’” said Rishah. “And when we (turned back) he just ran.”

Romero said the student walked down the hallway and started running.

“I don’t know if he had anything to do with it or not,” he said.

Night custodian Carlos Berrios said the smoke smelled like burning rubber or plastic.

Romero said he called the police but did not see any actual flames.

“I cracked the door and looked in and it was just black,” he said.

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