A fire that started in a residence hall at Salem State University Friday morning is being investigated as arson, University officials said.

Around 1:40 a.m., scrap paper and some posters caught fire in the trash room of Atlantic Hall, a dorm on the central campus, said Karen Cady, spokeswoman for school.

“It’s clearly suspicious,” she said.

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The fire was quickly put out, and students evacuated the building, she said. They were let back into the dorm about an hour later.

“The sprinkler extinguished everything,” Cady said. “Fortunately it didn’t develop into a major event.”

Salem State University is investigating the incident.

“I’ve been on campus now for a long time, and that’s the first time something like this has happened,” Cady said.