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Trash can is set on fire at W.Va. school

February 04, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. - Someone set a trash can on fire in a boy's bathroom at Jefferson High School Thursday morning, the second day in a row a fire was reported at the school.

The trash can was set on fire at about 11 a.m. in a boy's bathroom in the "C" wing, said Detective Sgt. Sam Harmon of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department.

School officials put out the bathroom blaze with a fire extinguisher, Harmon said.

Harmon said the incident was under investigation and added that he is narrowing down a list of suspects.

Superintendent of Schools R. Steven Nichols said a motion-activated video camera is stationed outside the bathroom and police obtained a video tape from the camera as part of their investigation.

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Nichols emphasized that anyone charged in the incident would be prosecuted to the "fullest extent of the law."

Nichols said the fire interrupted lunch at the school, which can create other problems.

Food left out at room temperature because of an interruption like the one Thursday can force food service personnel to discard the food, Nichols said.

Because of the fire and heavy snow that began falling Thursday, school officials dismissed classes one hour early at the high school, Nichols said.

On Wednesday, fire broke out in a heater in a computer lab at the school.

Because computers were hit with water when the fire was being extinguished, fire officials believed that all 30 computers in the lab might have been destroyed.

Damage to the computer lab was estimated at $25,000.

Investigators collected samples of burned material from the lab and will send them to the West Virginia State Police crime lab in Charleston, W.Va., in an attempt to determine the cause of the fire, said Ed Smith, chief of the Independent Fire Co.

No students were in the lab when the fire started at about noon, officials said.

Harmon said his department was continuing to investigate the computer lab fire Thursday.

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