KSUT Tribal Radio | By Sarah Flower

Two separate incidents of arson occurred within a 24-hour period at Fort Lewis College over the weekend. Federal law enforcement officers are on the scene and taking over investigative duties.

Text messages sent out in the early morning hours on Monday alerted the Fort Lewis College community to news of two arson attacks on campus. According to reports from the FLC police Department, the first incident occurred early Sunday morning when FLCPD and Durango Fire responded to smoke coming from the press box at the Fort Lewis College football field. The fire was extinguished and officials say no one was injured.

The fire was extinguished and officials say no one was injured. But the damage to the press box was extensive. Just 18 hours later, FLCPD reports that late Sunday evening, someone walked by their offices and set one of the SUV patrol vehicles on fire, resulting in an explosion.

An explosion so big that even Stephen Ben, a student at the college who lives on campus across where the incident took place, could feel it. "I'm just laying in bed, just kind of chilling winding down for the night, watching YouTube, then around 11:30, I hear the first kind of pop, and it was pretty loud because at first I thought it was a firework, but didn't hear any kind of whistle of it going up and then exploding, so it was kind of just something that caught me off guard, and then a few minutes later heard a second pop or explosion, And then my roommate ended up saying, 'did you hear that?' I was like, yeah, I heard that one, and he's like, 'did you hear the first one?' I was like, yeah, I heard the first one, too, so we were just kind of like, mm."

Officials so far are only reporting one explosion. The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Denver field Division, will assume the investigative responsibilities for the incidents and work in partnership with FLCPD, Durango Police Department, Colorado Bureau of Investigation and Durango Fire Protection District.

In a message sent out to campus president of Fort Lewis College, Tom Stritikus says, these incidents are disheartening, to say the least. "Events like this are unnerving, I'm unnerved, I'm angry that someone would do this to our amazing campus, but I do take solace in the fact that multiple law enforcement organizations are on scene right now investigating, and even though this investigation might take time, I know they will do everything they can to keep us safe."

FLCPD is distributing a blurry image of a person wearing a hooded sweatshirt carrying what appears to be a bucket, and it's circulating widely.

Law enforcement is asking anyone with information regarding the person or people involved to contact campus police at 970-385-2900 or share anonymously@safetutel.org.


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