Wednesday, December 5, 2012

UPDATE: Does AFA have an arsonist afoot?

Posted By on Wed, Dec 5, 2012 at 12:41 PM

UPDATE: We received the following message from Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Kramer:

Michelle Smith, 38.
  • Michelle Smith, 38.

Reference the arson case on the USAFA...our office received a call from USAFA authorities yesterday at 4:19 p.m. regarding an arson investigation. Once our deputy arrived on scene they learned members of Air Force OSI had conducted the arson investigation and had spoken with and identified the suspect. Once our deputy gathered sufficient information, we took the female suspect into custody and transported her to CJC where she was booked on 4 counts of Arson. The suspect was a contract employee on the Academy and was not a cadet or military member. Bond is currently $25K. Booking photo attached.


——-ORIGINAL POST: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 5, 12:41 P.M.———

Sijan Hall at the Air Force Academy
  • wallyg's photostream
  • Sijan Hall at the Air Force Academy

For the second time in two weeks, two small fires broke out at the Air Force Academy, in Sijan Hall, an academy dormitory, on Tuesday. Two small fires also were reported at Sijan Hall last Friday.

No one has been injured in either fire, and damage estimates are not available, although an academy spokesman said the fires did no structural damage. The earlier fire was investigated by the Office of Special Investigations with Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms officers.

Cadets were safely evacuated in both cases.

"Academy authorities believe they have apprehended the individual responsible for the recent fires in Sijan Hall," the academy said in a news release. "These actions are not being attributed to a USAFA cadet or permanent party member."

An academy official speaking on background said an employee for an "off base contractor" was apprehended and turned over to civilian authorities, but the official didn't say what civilian authorities. A person was booked into the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center, Lt. Jeff Kramer reports, but the person's name hasn't been released.

Meantime, the academy was supposed to conduct base-wide exercises today and Thursday, but those have been canceled due to the fires.

The reasoning, the academy official said, is that when exercises are undertaken, no unplanned events should interfere, and some of the exercise activities were to occur in the area of Sijan Hall.

The academy notes in a news release that the Cadet Chapel, Chapel Wall and Chapel Trail leading from the Visitor Center will remain open and that the public is welcome and encouraged to visit the Air Force Academy, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. The Visitor Center, Gift Shop and Cadet Chapel are open 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

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