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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Smokin’ in the Boy’s Room

Smokin in the Boys Room

On Thursday, February 13, two fires were set in the trash barrels on the UMass Boston campus. One was set in the men’s restroom on the second floor in the 400’s hall of McCormack, and another in the Science Building on the first floor. Both fires were minor and easily extinguished.

Campus police are becoming increasingly frustrated with the situation, as the fires were the latest installment in a recent series of fires dating back to November. In all, eight fires have been set on the UMass Boston campus since November. In December, arsonists went so far as to ignite a poster. The problem is escalating, as a fire has been set each week in February.

The Boston Fire Department responded to the Thursday evening fires, but the sprinkler system had been set off before they arrived. The water released from the sprinkler system ran down the hall and the stairs of the building, resulting in water damage to carpets and ceiling tiles.

Facilities currently have no estimates on the damage caused to the building.

The university community can assist the police by reporting any suspicious activity at 617-287-1212. Another way the community can assist the police is to promptly exit the building and stand clear of it should an alarm go off. Interestingly enough, many people in the McCormack Building did not leave upon hearing the alarm. While the fires that have occurred thus far have been minor, common sense on the parts of those occupying a building can prevent injury in the event of a more serious fire.

There is an ongoing investigation to discover the identity of whoever has been setting the fires. The police are exploring the likelihood of the arsonist being male, as one of the fires was set in the men’s restroom. However, the police also concede that if someone were brazen enough to set a fire, they probably would not have an aversion to entering a restroom intended for the opposite sex. Nor is it known whether the fires have been the actions of one individual every time, a group, or if the incidents are entirely unrelated.

In the event that the individual or group responsible for these acts of arson is apprehended, criminal charges will be pressed. In fact, if convicted, prison time 0is likely.

While thus far the fires have caused only smoke and water damage, there remains potential not only for serious damage to a building, but also for harm to the university populace. Currently, the only option for the campus community is to remain alert and report any suspicious activity to campus police. Also, any unattended rooms should be secured, and paper or any other flammable material should be not be left in the open. This issue remains a serious hazard to the campus and its population.