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THE STAR-LEDGER, TUESDAY, MARCH 31, 1998
East Orange fire officials blame arson
for loss of old Upsala College building
By Steven T. Walker
Copyright© 1998 The Star-Ledger
Arson was the cause of a weekend fire that destroyed a three-story structure on the former campus of Upsala College in East Orange, authorities determined yesterday.
A fire erupted Sunday at 6:22p.m. in the Prospect House, a three-story wood-frame building on what is now city property. It was not brought under control until more than four hours later. Fire Chief Len McDaniel said damage was heavy to the former administrative building.
The structure is expected to be razed.
Arson Detective Robert Larsen said investigators pinpointed the fire's origin to the southwest corner of the second floor, in a room that contained old files and computer paper left behind when the school closed after a loss of accreditation and bankruptcy in May 1995. Larsen said a room on the third floor may have been torched. "I can't prove that there was
another fire, but it was an inferno when they pulled up," he said of the arrival of fire personnel. "I can't document it, but there had to be two separate."
The arson detective added no accelerant was detected, and there was no suspect in the blaze.
Larsen said other buildings on the campus, now divided between city government and Board of Education, have been victimized by vandalism in the form of copper piping and fixture theft.
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