A Saddleback College student who succumbed to burn injuries is suspected to have been the victim of arson, officials announced on Tuesday.
Officials found the 21-year-old in a lecture hall of the third floor at the college located at 28000 Marguerite Parkway in Mission Viejo after responding to a fire on Monday. Fire officials said he was the only person inside the classroom at the Business and General Studies building. Officials are not releasing his name until family is notified of the death.
Emergency officials rushed the student to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, where he was flown in critical condition to Western Medical Center Santa Ana to be treated at the hospital’s burn unit. That night he succumbed to the third and second degree burns he suffered at the school and died.
Tuesday, officials released a statement on the college website announcing that classes would resume in the first floor of the Business and General Studies Building but the second and third floors would remain off-limits to students.
Capt. Jon Muir of the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) said officials responded to initial reports on Monday that described the fire as coming from an air conditioning unit at around 6:40 a.m. The fire was under control by around 7:14 a.m. And no classes were in session during the fire.
Investigators with the OCFA reportedly suspect the fire was caused by arson and aided by some sort of substance used to feed the fire. They estimated that approximately $400,000 in damages was caused by the fire, $200,000 of which was caused to the building’s structure. The building was closed down for the day.
The cause of the fire continues to be under investigation.
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