Visitor Center Fire Still Under Investigation

Investigators continue to sift through the burnt remains of the Schulman Grove Visitor center in order to determine if the fire was accidental or intentionally set. Forest Service PIO Nancy Upham says that so far investigators have found nothing conclusive.

With a suspect in custody on the vandalism and burglary cases at South Lake and Big Pine Canyon, Inyo Sheriff investigators have stated that it is critical, to view possible connections between the vandalism cases and the Visitor Center fires as speculation.

While the fire investigators cant ignore the other acts of vandalism that include the ransacked research station on the summit of White Mountain, Upham says that the worst thing investigators can do is rush to a snap judgment.

Investigators on the Schulman fire have looked at John Thomas Christiana, the man accused in the Big Pine Canyon vandalism cases. Upham says that visitor center employees were shown the vehicle driven by the vandalism suspect to see if any items from the visitor center were in the car, but there was nothing conclusive.

Investigators with Cal Fire, the Forest Service and the Inyo Sheriffs Department are working on the Schulman Grove case. Upham calls the investigation very complex, and says that the plan is to exhaust all possibilities before making a determination.

Inyo Sheriff Investigator Jeff Hollowell says we are still working up there and processing evidence. We believe that we know where the fire originated, but we do not have a definite cause.


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