11 arson-related fires in 2011, 2012 on Saipan remain unsolved
The office of Micronesian Legal Services on Capital Hill was burglarized and set on fire on Monday morning, according to Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services.
Department spokesman Derek Gersonde said yesterday the cause of the fire is an unknown incendiary.
The Department of Public Safety’s Criminal Bureau of Investigation will handle the burglary and theft investigation, while DFEMS will press on with trying to determine the incendiary used to set off the fire.
As of press time yesterday, DPS had yet to release information about the burglary.
Gersonde said the fire was apparently intended to cover up the burglary and theft.
He said a generator and several other items were reported missing from the building.
Gersonde said DFEMS received a call on Monday at 8:04am about smoke coming out of the Micronesian Legal Services office building near the Board of Parole building on Capital Hill.
Firefighters from Kagman, Garapan, and Susupe fire stations were at the scene in a few minutes.
Gersonde said the fire started at the information technology room in the center of the building but died prior to spreading to the rest of the structure.
Arson investigators learned that an employee of Micronesian Legal Services had reported for work but saw white heavy smoke inside the building when she opened the door.
Gersonde said further investigation revealed that a generator from the building was missing and the padlock that was used to lock the entrance had been cut.
An employee of Micronesian Legal Services told Saipan Tribune that the office was closed after the fire but their other office in Chalan Piao is open.
Eleven fires from November 2011 to February 2012 in the southern part of Saipan were all arson-related incidents. None of those cases were solved as of yesterday.
Meanwhile, DFEMS disclosed yesterday that the fire that engulfed a 1994 silver Toyota Camry near the Northern Marianas College on As Terlaje Hill on Friday afternoon was caused by mechanical problems with the car’s engine.
Gersonde said DFEMS considers the case closed as it was accidental.
DFEMS received a call about the fire on Chalan Monsigner Guerrero Road in As Terlaje on Friday at 3pm.
Firefighters from Garapan and Susupe Fire Stations arrived after a few minutes. At 3:18pm, the car was fully extinguished.
The driver, a 19-year-old student, was not injured.
Gersonde said the car was heading east up Chalan Monsignor Guerrero Road when the driver noticed white smoke coming out of the muffler.
The driver pulled over on the south side of the road to a vegetation lot and noticed smoke coming out of the engine hood.