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Contractor suspected of starting Air Force dorm fires

Published On: Dec 05 2012 01:11:44 PM CST   Updated On: Dec 05 2012 04:07:22 PM CST

A civilian contractor is suspected of intentionally starting two small fires in an Air Force Academy dormitory.
Thirty-eight-year-old Michelle Smith was being held at the El Paso County jail on Wednesday on suspicion of arson.  She was arrested Tuesday after the fires were discovered and extinguished in Sijan Hall.  Her bond was set at $25,000.
Academy spokesman Meade Warthen said cadets were safely evacuated and there was no structural damage. About 2,000 cadets live there.
Two small fires also broke out in the dorm on Friday. Warthen said investigators don't know yet whether the two sets of fires are related.
It wasn't known whether Smith has a lawyer.
The academy postponed a basewide exercise that had been planned for Wednesday. Officials wanted to avoid the possibility that the public would think there was an actual emergency happening.


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