Arson to blame for old high school fire

After hours of investigating, fire marshalls ruled the blaze at the old Hattiesburg High School was an act of arson.

Fire investigators have been going through the rubble of the old Hattiesburg High School looking for clues as to what caused the fire.  Now, Fire Marshall Andy Cartlidge says they have found plenty of evidence that someone deliberately tried to burn down the abandoned building.

"There was no power nor gas to the building, no lightning strikes and the door was deliberately kicked in," says Cartlidge.

The fire marshall believes someone broke inside the right front door of the building then lit some kind of unidentified alcohol-based product throughout several floors of the old high school.

"We're not sure what type it was," says Cartlidge, "but it was possibly alcohol base since it has evaporated."

Now that the fire department knows the cause of the horrible fire, they plan on finding the suspect.

"From this point on we're going to pursue identifying the perpetrator and, if at all possible, probably soliciting help from the community to try to identify that person," says Hattiesburg Fire Chief David Webster.

Because the fire is still smoldering in some places, Chief Webster says his department will continue to be on site until the fire is completely out.