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Jefferson High in W.Va. evacuated after trash cans set on fire

October 24, 2007|By DAVE McMILLION

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.VA. - Students and staff at Jefferson High School were evacuated from the building for about 90 minutes Tuesday afternoon after two fires were set almost simultaneously in two student bathrooms, police said.

Deputies and school officials were reviewing a video tape from a surveillance camera system at the school late Tuesday afternoon that should show everyone who was coming in and out of the bathrooms at the time of the fires, Lt. Dave Colbert of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department said.

The fires were set in two trash cans, one in a men's bathroom and the other in a women's bathroom at the rear of the school along Flowing Springs Road north of Charles Town, Colbert said.

Firefighters, who were notified at 12:42 p.m., responded and removed smoke from the building, Colbert said.

The fires burned trash in the receptacles, and no other damage occurred to the building, Colbert said.

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Colbert said there is a "very good" camera system in the building and police were hoping the footage could lead to an arrest.

"It's a felony case of arson, for sure," Colbert said.

Colbert said he believes no one saw the fires being set. Because the camera system will show everyone in and out of the bathrooms at the time of the fire, interviews and polygraph tests will probably have to be conducted to determine suspects, Colbert said.

It is the second time since last week that the sheriff's department has investigated an incident at the school.

Last Thursday, deputies were called to the school about 11:19 a.m. after a student turned in a paper that concerned school officials, police said.

The paper was part of a class assignment, said Lt. Tom Hansen, who declined to say what the paper stated.

The student was taken to the sheriff's office, where he made a comment "that could be considered a credible threat of violence," according to a press release from the sheriff's office.

The boy was taken to a juvenile detention center in Martinsburg, W.Va., Hansen said.

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