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Waltham police are investigating three fires at High School in one month

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  December 12, 2013 01:00 PM

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Waltham police are conducting an investigation into who started three fires in a month in bathrooms at Waltham High School, authorities said.

The fires, which were started Nov. 6, Nov. 18 and Dec. 6 -- each at the end of the school day -- caused two evacuations at the high school, said Waltham Police Det. Sgt. Joseph Guigno.

Each fire was started in boys' bathroom trash cans, in a different location each time, Guigno said. The first two led to evacuations; the third was contained quickly by a teacher, he said.

Guigno said it seemed like "someone wants to start fire drills to get out of school," noting that "lighting fires there is not something that should be a common occurrence."

As part of their investigation, police are taking notice of students who signed out bathroom keys or hall passes during the time of the incidents, as well as anyone who was not in class at those times, Guigno said.

High school bathrooms are supposed to be locked, and students must sign out bathroom keys from their teachers to use them, Guigno said. However, "it doesn’t always work that way," he said, noting that "sometimes the locks aren’t as secure as they should be."

School officials are trying to prevent future fires by keeping a closer eye on the bathrooms, and by removing paper towels -- which could be used as tinder -- and replacing them with hand dryers, Guigno said.

"We're taking a lot of precautions," he said.

Visit Waltham Police Department's website for more information or to contact a police officer.

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Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com

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