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Contractor suspected of starting Air Force fires

Published On: Dec 06 2012 07:51:33 AM CST   Updated On: Dec 06 2012 10:39:09 AM 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 extinguished in Sijan Hall.

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 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.

According to an arrest affidavit, Smith allegedly told an investigator the fires were set because she was upset, lonely and depresse


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