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May 28, 2014

ISU investigating suspicious Dumpster fires

TERRE HAUTE — Indiana State University Police are investigating a series of Dumpster fires that have occurred in recent days at University Apartments, according to an ISU press release.

Two fires occurred overnight Monday near Units 1 and 2 along Farrington Street and were quickly extinguished by the Terre Haute Fire Department, according to the release. University staff discovered two additional fires Wednesday morning near Units 3 and 4, closer to Crawford Street. The latest fires apparently burned themselves out before being discovered.

None of the Dumpster fires caused significant damage, and police have no indication the incidents are connected to Tuesday’s fire at Unit 4 in University Apartments, said Joe Newport, university police chief.

While the cause of the Unit 4 fire is still under investigation, it is believed to be accidental. A lawn mower that had used earlier in the day and was being serviced in a basement workshop is the probable source of the fire, according to the release.

The fire in Unit 4 caused about 100 students, relatives and guests to be relocated to Pickerl Hall on the main Indiana State campus.

Cleanup is under way in Unit 4, and displaced residents are expected to be able to return sometime this weekend, said Amanda Knerr, executive director of residential life and housing.

Knerr praised Terre Haute Fire Department personnel for their quick response in extinguishing the fire in Unit 4 and limiting damage to the effects of smoke.

She also expressed gratitude to the Wabash Valley chapter of American Red Cross for providing immediate assistance to residents of Unit 4 on Tuesday, and to the Vigo County School Corp., which arranged for a special bus to pick up students Wednesday morning at Pickerl Hall.

ISU Police are asking anyone with information about the trash receptacle fires or other suspicious activity recently at University Apartments to call 812-237-5555.

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