- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Two small fires erupted yesterday in a Northeast high school, marking the fourth straight school day a blaze has started in the building.

The fires, at Eastern High School in the 1700 block of East Capitol Street NE, brought the total number of fires at the school to five since Friday.

The fires yesterday — in a basement locker and on the third floor — had been extinguished by the time firefighters arrived, authorities said.

On Friday, the fire was set in an upstairs bathroom, said Kathryn Friedman, spokeswoman for the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department. On Monday and Tuesday, trash cans were set ablaze.

Nobody has been injured in the fires and no significant damage has been caused, she said.

All five fires are under investigation.

“Every time we’re called out to [school fires], we take them seriously,” Miss Friedman said.

Eastern’s principal, Norman Smith, said the fires were disruptive.

“We are using [footage from] security cameras to try to find who did this,” Mr. Smith said, adding that the culprits would be prosecuted as well as punished by the school.

Last spring, Anacostia High School in Southeast was hit with a string of what authorities called “nuisance” fires, including 14 set in May.

Authorities considered those fires pranks and said students setting the fires were likely just looking for a way to get out of classes. The buildings were evacuated immediately during the fires.

Authorities warn of the seriousness of intentionally setting fires in schools, saying that often happens about this time of year.

A 16-year-old Anacostia student was arrested in June after a trash can was set afire at the school. Another teen was arrested for starting a fire at the school May 15.

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