Arsonist behind Bullard High Fires

August 27, 2008 7:51:49 PM PDT
Fresno firefighters say they're dealing with a serial arsonist at Bullard High School. The latest fire did about $2,000 dollars worth of damage to the baseball team's clubhouse. The first five blazes were set during the summer but now school administrators are concerned because Wednesday's fire is the first one set during the school year.Glenn Starkweather, Bullard High School's principal said, "Well of course anytime you have a fire you have to be concerned about the safety of the students and employees that work here."

Ken Shockley is Fresno Fire Department's spokesperson. "Fortunately no one's been hurt but make no mistake arson kills. This is dangerous. Whoever's doing this, we're taking this very seriously."

Fresno Unified installed extra surveillance cameras after the first few fires on campus and investigators hope to find something on the tapes. The school district also hired 24 hour security. Wednesday morning the security guard called 911 when he saw the flames against the night sky.

The fires have taken place in the last three months; May 24th, June 15th, 19th and the 26th. The fifth one took place July 4th. Most have been set in dumpsters and to new areas of construction. Principal Starkweather said, "These fires have presented a serious problem for the high school because it has taken away resources that could have gone to our educational program."

Chad Thornhill is the baseball coach. "Each one of these lockers will have $500 to $1,000 worth of equipment." He said on Monday the team had just cleaned out and emptied the clubhouse to get ready for the next season. "Had this been during a regular season we would have been in pretty big trouble for a while trying to replace equipment and putting ourselves back to where we could successfully compete against the competition."

Adding an ominous twist, firefighters believe the arsonist may have been watching them put out this morning's fire because as they were cleaning up someone set fire to two more dumpsters across the street from the high school.

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