NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) - Classes at CNU were canceled Tuesday as five restroom fires were reported throughout the school's campus.
All five fires are being investigated as "suspicious." State Police arson investigators are involved, as is the ATF, CNU Police and the Newport News Fire Marshal's Office. All remained on scene through Tuesday evening.
"Right now, we're just working on the investigation and ensuring that the students and faculty are safe and the community is able to resume as normal," Michelle Anaya with the State Police told WAVY.com.
According to Lori Jacobs with CNU , the first fire was reported just after noon at the school's student union. The fire was found in the men's bathroom inside of a small trash can. The Newport News Fire Department responded and extinguished the fire. At the time, Jacobs said foul play was not suspected.
"We heard the smoke alarms go off and everybody cleared out the building," CNU junior Nathan Grim said. "We pack up our stuff and get out there. There was a ton of smoke coming out of the bathroom."
Jacobs said a second fire was found inside of a women's restroom at Freeman Sports and Convocation Center. An alert was sent to students at 2:39 p.m., and it is not known what the cause of the fire was.
"It's really unnerving honestly, because you just don't know when it's going to happen," CNU junior Christian Allen said. "You don't know if it's going to happen in the building you're in."
The third fire was located at a men's bathroom in McMurran Hall. A sprinkler system was activated and controlled the fire.
"Final exams start next week. Everybody's focused on studying. I think it's somebody who didn't want to take a final test," CNU student Adam Milholen said.
The fourth and fifth fires were reported at Forbes Hall restrooms. They were extinguished and damage is minimal.
In a news conference Tuesday evening, CNU Chief of Police Jeffrey Brown said classes were canceled to prepare buildings for reopening Wednesday.
"It's weird that they haven't caught him, but I hope and I have faith in CNU and Newport News Police that they'll catch the guy," CNU junior Christopher Garofalo said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.
Card access will be required for all residential halls as of 5 p.m. Tuesday.
"I feel pretty safe having all the fire trucks and police officers around," Allen said. "I think whoever is doing is going to get caught."
CNU Dean Kevin Hughes issued the following statement Tuesday:
Today has been a hectic day with the multiple small fires that occurred on campus. I want to provide you with some additional information and ask for your assistance.
Now I ask something of you. This is our campus and this is a special community. You know that better than anybody. We have a responsibility to each other and the events of today are impacting your college experience. They're disrupting your ability to do the things you would normally do, whether it be attending club and organization meetings, going to events, or just hanging out with friends. Please be vigilant with your support and concern for each other. Additionally, don't hesitate to share any suspicions you have with your RAs (who are making extra rounds tonight), the Red Shirts and their staffs, or any staff member in the buildings that remain open.
You can keep up to date by going to http://cnualert.info . I will continue to update you when possible.
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