A former St. Catherine University student was arrested Wednesday afternoon for allegedly starting eight fires in several buildings across the school's campus.
No one was injured and no major damage was reported in the incident that began about 11:40 a.m. Wednesday, according to St. Paul officials. A woman was arrested about two hours later on suspicion of first-degree arson.
Police spokesman Sgt. Mike Ernster said authorities believe the suspect worked alone, although her motive and the case remain under investigation. She has not been charged.
Books, toilet paper and sanitary napkins were among the objects set on fire, said St. Paul fire assistant chief Mike Gaede and Sara Berhow, a university spokeswoman.
Gaede said the largest object burned was a chair.
"All of the fires were quite small and contained quite easily," Berhow said, adding that all but one were set inside trash cans in restrooms.
The chair was set on fire in a student lounge in St. Mary's residence hall, and was extinguished by a sprinkler system, Berhow said.
Firefighters put out the other fires by stomping on them or using fire extinguishers, according to Gaede. Some fires smothered themselves.
Firefighters scoured buildings as more fires were reported.
Berhow said authorities identified the suspect through surveillance video what showed her entering a building. The woman was arrested without incident at a residence hall.
She was enrolled in the fall 2017 term but not the January term or the spring term, Berhow said.
The woman had been living in a residence hall but stopped attending classes during the fall semester and ceased living in the building halfway through, Berhow said.