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Fire damages building at Royal Roads University

A fire at a campus building at Royal Roads University was at one point considered a possible arson but now looks to not be suspicious.
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Firefighters put out hotspots in a building at Royal Roads University on Wednesday night. Dec. 18, 2013

A fire at a campus building at Royal Roads University was at one point considered a possible arson but now looks to not be suspicious.

Colwood assistant fire chief John Cassidy said it appears to have been caused by a portable space heater that was left on.

Colwood and View Royal fire departments were called to the campus at 2005 Sooke Rd. about 5:45 p.m. Wednesday when fire broke out in the building on the west side of campus.

Firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke and flames showing from one side of the Cedar building, believed to be have once a barn for dairy cows dating back to the original tenants, the Dunsmuirs.

The building was renovated in 1998 to accommodate research and computer labs, and is again under renovation.

It was apparent the fire began on the outside of the building, which originally raised suspicions as to its cause. The fire was burning near a causeway and didn’t result in significant damage “but it had huge potential,” Colwood Fire Chief Kerry Smith said.

The building is old but many of the building materials and construction are modern because of the renovations that have been done.

No one was injured.