Update: Police Say Potsdam Fire Set Intentionally

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Potsdam police say they believe the fire that left 10 college students homeless early Friday morning was set intentionally.

Police say a woman who lived in a first-floor bedroom is believed to be responsible for the fire at 28 Pierrepont Avenue in Potsdam.

Fire officials say it appears items were piled on the floor inside the bedroom around 1:30 a.m. and then purposely ignited.                

Police would not disclose the motive.

A source said the woman was taken to the mental health unit at Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center in Ogdensburg.

Nine of the students who lived in the apartment building escaped the burning structure without injury.

Another student wasn't at home. Officials say the residents were students at SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Canton.

Four students lived in the apartment where the fire is believed to have started.

Several of the students who lived in the apartment house returned to the fire scene to salvage whatever they could of their belongings.

They declined on-camera interviews but said they felt lucky to be able to have gotten out and were surprised that the fire was intentionally set by a neighboring tenant.

One student told us he and a friend knocked on doors to alert occupants of the fire.

Police say they are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding the suspected arson and charges are pending

The building was declared a total loss and has been condemned because of structural damage.

SUNY Potsdam spokeswoman Alexandra Jacobs says the college is helping the students find a new place to live.

Friday, August 22, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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