The UCSB Police Department and Santa Barbara County firefighters responded to a case of arson at a construction site off Phelps Road early yesterday morning.
The campus police received a 911 call regarding the fire at approximately 2:14 a.m. An ongoing investigation involving Cal State Fire, SBC fire investigators, UC Fire Marshals and UCSB PD Detectives determined that the incident — which caused up to $1 million in damage to a privately-owned trailer, water truck, bulldozer and other large-scale construction equipment — was started intentionally.
UCSB PD Detective Mitch Molitor said officials are in the early stages of collecting evidence and conducting interviews.
“There’s absolutely no doubt that this is arson,” Molitor said. “It’s definitely not an accident that’s electrical or anything like that. The evidence we found there is consistent with arson.”
Although the fire burned several pieces of privately-owned construction equipment, the arson did not harm university-owned property, according to Molitor.
“The university itself has a zero dollar loss; [the damaged property] belonged to contractors and sub-contractors,” Molitor said. “Even though it was on university property, there was no actual cost to the university.”