Suspicious fires at old elementary school being investigated

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OKLAHOMA CITY - An old elementary school in Oklahoma City has been on fire three times this year.

Investigators believe the fires are being intentionally set.

The building is mostly secure.

Steel gates block the front doors and the windows are also blocked, yet the building is still being set on fire, two weekends in a row now.

“We don't know much. We know the fires were intentionally set,” OKC Fire Battalion Chief Mike Walker said.

At least three times this year fire crews have been called to the old Dunbar Elementary, near Northeast 6th and Lottie.

There have been fires on the first and second floor and now a building just behind the school has been destroyed by flames.

“That fire had been burning for an excessively long period of time," Walker said. "When our crews arrived, we had a wall collapse shortly after our crews arrived.”

The building hasn't been used as a school in years.

It was sold a year ago to a private owner.

“Any time there's a vacant building, especially something as prominent in a neighborhood like a school, it tends to be an attraction for kids, and for other people, vagrants,” Walker said.

The owner of the building would not go on camera, but he told us he is hoping to fix the old school up and turn it into a senior living center.

He says the fires are definitely a set-back.

Now, he's working with OG&E to get lights around the area repaired and back on.

He's also taken extra steps to board up doors that aren't gated in hopes of keeping any unwanted visitors out.

Fire officials are investigating the recent incidents, but say they have very few leads in these cases.

“We don't have any eye witnesses or any evidence that leads us to any specific person,” Walker said.

If you have any information which could help in the investigation you are asked to call the OKC Fire Department Arson Hotline at (405)232-7766.


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