UC SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - University Police released the following information:
At about 3:30 a.m., University of California Santa Barbara Police, Santa Barbara Sheriff and Santa Barbara County Fire Departments responded to reports of a fire seen at the UCSB Sierra Madre Housing construction site adjacent to Storke Road. Upon arrival, officers observed flames inside a future apartment building.
Two work trailers in an adjoining construction site were also engulfed in flames. The building and trailers were severely damaged by the fire. These were among many other structures under construction which were not damaged.
None of the structures were occupied and there were no reported injuries. By 6 a.m. the fire was under control and an investigation into the cause and extent of the damage was initiated. The UCSB Fire Marshal, Santa Barbara County Arson Task Force, Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms were added to the cooperative effort and a unified command was established.
Although the cause of the fire is being determined at this time, witnesses reported seeing a white male leaving the construction site at the time the fires started and then fleeing west toward the UCSB North Campus Open Space.
The UCSB Police Department is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and successful conviction of the person or persons who caused these fires. In the event multiple people come forward with such information the money would be divided.
Anyone with information about the fires or the subject seen leaving the scene are encouraged to contact the UCSB Police Department at 805-893-3446 or the Crimestoppers hotline at 1-877-800-9100.
Campus officials released the following statement: We are grateful for the response of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, the UC Police Department and Sheriff¹s office and are thankful that there were no injuries involved.
There were three structures that were damaged by fire including a construction trailer, the old golf course cart barn, and the frame of an unfinished building for faculty and staff housing.
Other structures on the site were not damaged. The damage and schedule impact is still be assessed by the construction management team.
It is likely that the project, which broke ground late last year, will require additional time, up to a year, to complete. The project was previously scheduled to be opened in fall 2015.
More information about the construction project can be found here: http://www.housing.ucsb.edu/projects-blog/sierra-madre-apartments-new-construction-west-campus-apartments