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Students Questioned in High School Arson Fire

October 19, 1989

Investigators were continuing their search Wednesday for clues into the arson fire that destroyed much of the administration building at Hueneme High School, causing damage estimated at $650,000.

No arrests have been made, but police were interviewing four Hueneme High School students who had been with a juvenile who was arrested at the school on an unrelated charge of public drunkenness.

"We'll know more after we talk to the juveniles," said Robert Velasquez, a district attorney's office investigator and member of the county's Arson Task Force. "They may be our only witnesses."

The fire began about 9:15 p.m. Saturday at the school, causing severe damage to at least two offices in the building, said Oxnard Fire Cause Investigator Kevin Schroepfer. He said traces of flammable liquid found in the building, together with evidence of the high intensity of the fire, convinced him that the blaze was deliberately set.

Velasquez said school officials had been asked whether any youths had cause to take revenge on the school.

"Any time there is a school involved, your first inclination is to suspect students," said Sgt. Jeff Young, who supervises the property crimes section at the Oxnard Police Department. "That's usually your first assumption, but it isn't necessarily so."

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