Early yesterday morning, a vendor stall near the UCen burned to the ground in what officials said appeared to be a deliberately set fire.

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department received a phone call about the fire at 5:18 a.m. and was able to contain the fire in approximately 20 minutes.

Although they are still investigating the cause of the fire, Fire Marshal Joe Kennedy said the fire’s origins are suspicious.

“There are no electrical ignitions, there’s nothing sort of mechanical, there is no reason that this thing would just start by itself, so I’d say, on the surface, it appears to be a malicious mission by somebody who decided to burn something,” Kennedy said.

Deputy Fire Marshal Joe Harkins said the booth had approximately 600 small and 50 large pictures, all but one of which were burned to the ground on Wednesday, amounting to an estimated $10,000 worth of damage.

Officials cleaned the rubble with shovels and a hose on Wednesday and will sandblast the charred walls this morning. Harkins said the vendors will probably not be able to set up their merchandise until noon.

The burned merchandise was from a company called Dahan Galleries, which sends representatives to sell their merchandise on various campuses. The representative in charge of the stand, known as Jay, is the only vendor to leave his merchandise on campus overnight.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call Kennedy at 893-3008.