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Federal agency to help investigate weekend arsons at Fort Lewis College

DURANGO— Fort Lewis College is getting additional boots on the ground to help find the person or person responsible for two separate arsons that took place over the weekend. The incidents damaged the football field press office and destroyed a police vehicle.

The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Denver Field Division will assume the investigative responsibility for the incidents and work in partnership with the local agencies working on the case.

“Federal law enforcement has the expertise and resources to ensure those responsible for these acts are held accountable,” said FLC Police Chief Brett Deming.

On Sunday morning, Fort Lewis College Police and Durango Fire responded to smoke coming from the press box at the Fort Lewis College campus football field. 

Due to the fast action of FLC police officers, the fire was spotted, and the Durango Fire Department was able to respond and extinguish the fire, Deming said. However, extensive damage occurred.

At 11:30 pm Sunday, someone walked by the office of the FLC Police Department and set one of the patrol vehicles on fire. The resulting explosion was felt throughout campus. Police have posted a video of a person of interest in the case.

Initial investigating agencies included the FLC Police Department, the Durango Police Department, the Durango Fire Protection District, and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. ATF will continue to work in partnership with these agencies.

In a message to campus on Monday, FLC President Tom Stritikus acknowledged the incidents are unsettling.

“I am unnerved, and I am angry that someone would do this to our amazing campus,” he said on a social media video “But I do take solace in the fact that multiple law enforcement organizations are on scene right now, investigating. And even though his investigation might take time, I know they’re doing everything they can to keep us safe.”

Deming said that while the circumstances have been difficult, he’s thankful for the support they’ve received from other agencies to help solve this case.

Media contacts:

Fort Lewis College:
ATF: Crystal McCoy

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