BANDON — A male student has admitted to starting fires at Harbor Lights Middle School on Saturday evening.
At 8:08 p.m., emergency personnel from the Bandon Police Department and Bandon Fire Department were dispatched to a structure fire at the school, located at 390 Ninth St. SW.
Due to the suspicious nature of the fire, detectives from the Oregon State Police Arson Unit were requested to assist with the investigation, according to a press release from Oregon State Police.
A joint investigation was conducted involving OSP and the State Fire Marshal’s Office, Bandon Police Department and Bandon Fire Department. Members of the Harbor Lights Middle School staff cooperated with and assisted in the investigation.
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The investigation revealed that two fires were intentionally set at the school on the evening of Sept. 28, the press release stated. Bandon Fire Chief Lanny Boston said if his crew had been just 30 minutes later, the entire gymnasium would have gone up in flames.
Only one fire caused severe damage to the school, but didn’t prohibit the school from holding classes Monday. The majority of the structural damage was in the boys locker room and damaged all of the HLMS football team equipment.
A juvenile male, who attended the school, was identified and admitted to setting the fires, according to OSP. The school was notified of the investigation's results and is planning to take appropriate administrative action. The investigation will also be sent to the Coos County District Attorney’s Office for potential criminal charges.