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Police probe fire at Rochester community center

ROCHESTER - Firefighters handed over the case of a suspicious fire that caused the evacuation of the community center Monday to police, according to Fire Marshal Dominick Bellio.

"The fire was a set fire," Bellio said. He said someone set fire to a wall-mounted soap dispenser in a second-floor bathroom, causing alarms to sound around 11:30 a.m.

The former high school, located at 150 Wakefield St. on Route 125, houses the city's recreation department and economic development personnel as well as the school superintendent's office, a local food pantry, a driving school and other agencies.

Bellio said he's been unable to determine whether the soap was alcohol-based, which could contribute to the fire.

The wall was concrete block, and Bellio said the dispenser burned and melted on the floor.

Bellio said the smoke damage was contained to the bathroom for the most part, even though thick, black smoke filled the length of the second-floor hallway, which runs through the center of the building.

As the building was quickly evacuated, Bellio said no one was injured.

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