Part of the Isla Vista Theater caught fire early monday morning causing damage to the outside of the building.
The fire started in trash cans and burned a wooden overhang. Authorities are calling it suspicious.
“We’re following all the protocols of an actual arson,” said Sgt. Rob Romero with the UC Santa Barbara police department.
Just after 2 a.m., the fire charred part of the theater on Embarcadero Del Norte and Trigo Road. Crews quickly put it out and limited the damage to the building. Students were allowed to attend class inside Monday.
Romero said security cameras in front of the building could help the Santa Barbara County arson task force and other investigators to determine if it was set intentionally.
The cameras were put up in April ahead of the Deltopia street party. Most were taken down but a few remain on UCSB property in Isla Vista.
Valerie Sweatt owns a business across the street from where the fire broke out. She said she has mixed feelings about the cameras, but hope this time they will help.
“Not real thrilled with Big Brother looking over my shoulder all the time but on the other hand if it can stop something like the May 23 incident with Elliot Rodger, that would be a good thing,” she said.
“We’re not trying to play big brother with the community, but we also want them to know that we want this to be a safe environment. Especially with the hits we’ve been taking over the last year or so,” said Romero.
The heat from the fire cracked a window at the theater’s ticket office and burned plants.
University facilities staff inspected the damage to find out what will need to be replaced.
Officers will comb through security footage to see if they can find any suspects, or determine if it was an accident.Slideshow: Early Morning Fire Damages Isla Vista Theater