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Paper: Seton Hall Blaze Intentional

February 2, 2000

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) _ Investigators of the deadly fire at a Seton Hall University dormitory believe the blaze was set, The Star-Ledger of Newark reported today.

Authorities have identified at least four suspects in the Jan. 19 fire that killed three freshmen, the newspaper reported, citing law enforcement sources it did not name. No charges have been filed.

Charlotte Smith, Essex County executive assistant prosecutor, said her office would not comment on the newspaper report or on the investigation in general.

The newspaper said investigators believe the incident may have resulted from a feud between a group of students and some non-students who were visiting the building on the night of the blaze. But they have not concluded whether the third-floor lounge fire was started as a prank or an attempt to harm someone.

A student resident adviser had asked three of the non-student suspects to leave Boland Hall less than an hour before the fire broke out. Investigators said they believe one of the three remained in the building, located on the campus of the 9,200-student Roman Catholic university in suburban South Orange.

The resident adviser, Dana Christmas, remained in critical condition today with severe burns and has yet to speak with investigators. Three other students who are in critical condition also have not been interviewed.

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