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Vandals shoot firework into Gig Harbor library through book drop

Damaged books are piled in the room at the Gig Harbor library where the book drop empties. Vandals put a shooting-type firework in the book drop, which started a fire.
Damaged books are piled in the room at the Gig Harbor library where the book drop empties. Vandals put a shooting-type firework in the book drop, which started a fire. Courtesy

An incendiary device placed in the book return chute started a fire early Wednesday inside the Gig Harbor library, damaging more than 300 library items.

Police said someone “shot the fireworks in the book drop like with a Roman candle or some other shooting-type firework.”

Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One investigators were unable to find any remnant of a firework in the book drop but saw small burnt magnesium flakes outside of the chute.

The library’s fire-suppression system put out the fire and prevented a much worse situation.

“This could have burned the entire building down, no doubt,” Police Chief Kelly Busey said.

As of Friday afternoon, police had no suspects in custody, said Busey, who said he will purse arson charges in the case.

The damaged items included books, audio books and DVDs, said Becky Smith, assistant branch supervisor.

“The items were either charred or (incurred) smoke damage,” she said.

Library officials had not tabulated a monetary value for the items lost as of Friday morning.

The book drop is closed to patrons. It likely will take a week or so to fix the damage, Smith said.

For those who think they returned an item that might have been damaged, Smith asked that they call the library.

“We tried to check in what we could,” she said.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call police at 253-851-2236.

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