A small fire at the University of Maine’s campus library on Wednesday night was the result of arson, according to the university. The fire damaged numerous books before firefighters quickly extinguished it on Wednesday night, according to a captain with the Orono Fire Department.
The University of Maine police and division of student life are offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest or conviction of anyone who was involved.
The Orono Fire Department quickly put out a fire in the ceiling above the periodical stacks using fire extinguishers at around 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Orono Fire Cpt. Bryan Hardison said Thursday. A separate section of books was water-damaged after the sprinkler system began to activate. While the sprinklers did not go off, a sprinkler pipe leaked after filling with water, Hardison said.
There were no injuries and few students were in the building at the time of the fire, Hardison said. The building had been evacuated by the time firefighters arrived.
Hardison said the fire burned about 50 books. Numerous others were damaged by smoke, dry chemical powder from the fire extinguishers and water damage from the pipe leak. The Orono and Old Town fire departments were at the scene for about three hours.
Margaret Nagle, a spokesperson for the university, said the library reopened at 10 a.m. Thursday, but some areas remained closed for cleaning and maintenance.
The University of Maine police and state fire marshal’s office are conducting an investigation into the fire, Hardison said. UMaine police directed an inquiry to Nagle.