Fire causes $1,500 in damage at school

Blaze apparently was set intentionally, officials say


A smoldering pile of newspapers caused about $1,500 in damage to Swansfield Elementary School on Cedar Lane in Columbia early yesterday, the state fire marshal's office said.

The fire appears to have been set intentionally, Deputy State Fire Marshal Sarina Hart said.

A Sun newspaper deliverer discovered the fire outside the school about 3 a.m., the fire marshal's office said.

The flames broke a window and melted paint on the window frame, Hart said, but damage was minimal because the fire was outside the building.

The pile of newspapers appeared to have been there before the fire and was not brought in by the arsonist, Hart said.

Three firefighters extinguished the smoldering pile in about five minutes, the fire marshal's office said. The school operated as usual yesterday, a spokeswoman said.

No one had been arrested, said a spokesman for Howard County Fire and Rescue Services, which the fire marshal's office said was leading the fire investigation.

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