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3 fires at BC over weekend deemed suspicious

No one injured; two buildings were damaged

Authorities believe that three small fires that damaged classrooms and offices at Boston College over the weekend were set intentionally.

Two were set Saturday night in the north wing of the fourth floor of Stokes Hall, activating a sprinkler system in the building and causing smoke and water damage to sections of the $78 million facility, which opened 11 months ago.

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Several offices and two classrooms in Stokes will be closed until repairs can be made, but most of the building remains open, BC spokesman Jack Dunn said Tuesday. Other isolated areas on the third, second, and first floors of Stokes Hall will need minor repairs.

Another fire set Saturday night inside BC’s 100-year-old flagship building, Gasson Hall, was quickly extinguished and caused no damage, according to Dunn.

No injuries were reported as a result of the fires, which all broke out shortly after 9:30 p.m. Saturday, he said.

John M. King, Boston College’s police chief and public safety director, said in a statement that the cause of the fires remains under investigation. But, he said, authorities believe the fires were set and that they are “suspicious in nature.”

He asked anyone with information to contact BC police or the Newton Fire Department.

The school has hired several firms that specialize in fire cleanup to assist BC staff with the work at Stokes Hall. Most of the repair and cleanup work has been completed, and BC expects the job to be finished by the end of this week, Dunn said.

“If you walked around the building today, you’d never know anything had happened,” he said.

Crews have been mopping up and drying off areas where the sprinklers went off, cleaning soot off walls, books, and other items and patching and painting sheetrock where walls were opened up. They have also been repairing sections of ceiling and replacing carpet and a number of office cubicle stations, officials said.

The 183-000-square-foot Stokes Hall serves as a center for the humanities at BC. It is the first new academic building to be constructed on the university’s Middle Campus in more than four decades, and it features 36 classrooms, a commons, honors library, outdoor amphitheater, and a new Campus Green.

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at matthew.rocheleau@ globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mrochele.
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