November 20, 2008
Students Did Not Start Fire, Westmont Says
Authorities said earlier that 10 college-age students had built a bonfire that started the fire.
Westmont President Gayle Beebe released a statement yesterday that said no Westmont students were to blame for starting the California fire that destroyed more than 200 homes and several campus buildings.
Ten men and women, ranging in age from 18 to 22, built a bonfire Wednesday night to warm themselves, authorities told the Los Angeles Times. Other schools in Santa Barbara include the Brooks Institute of Photography, Santa Barbara City College, and the University of California Santa Barbara.
The Westmont Horizon posted Beebe's statement on its liveblog.
On Wednesday afternoon at approximately 2:45 p.m., Drew Sugars, the public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office officially informed the college that no current Westmont students were present nor in anyway involved with this tragic incident.
It should be noted that at this point, the group of individuals responsible for starting the fire are under the jurisdiction of law enforcement authorities. Again, no current Westmont students were involved with this incident.