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Calif. Community College Student Dies After Classroom Fire Believed to Be Arson


THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION.  JULY 9, 2013.  A 21-year-old student has died after being burned badly in a fire that broke out Monday morning in a classroom at Saddleback College, a community college in Mission Viejo, Calif. A spokesman for the Orange County Fire Authority said arson investigators had concluded that the fire was started deliberately and fueled by a liquid accelerant. The student died Monday night, and his name has not been released.

Authorities were trying to determine whether the student deliberately or accidentally set himself on fire or whether he’s the victim of someone else’s arson.

“That’s the million-dollar question,” Muir said. “If this guy is in fact the person who started the fire, we’re waiting to hear based on his family life if he had any problems.”

The fire occurred about an hour before class was scheduled to begin there, McCue said. The entire building was shut down Monday, and classes in the top two floors were relocated Tuesday, she said.

The blaze caused $200,000 in damage to the building and burned another $200,000 worth of equipment and material, Muir said.

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