A recent fire at V.I. Lottery offices on St. Thomas has been ruled "arson related," according to a statement by Fire Services officials.
About a week ago, two units from Hotel Company on St. Thomas responded to a report from 911 about a structural fire at the building on Veterans Drive. When fire crews arrived at the scene, they found smoke coming from the north side of the building, and had to make a forced entry to search for the source of the fire, according to the statement from Assistant Fire Services Director Daryl A. George.
They found a small fire in a back room, which was quickly put out, preventing any water damage. However, Fire Services officials told media outlets that some "operational papers" were destroyed, while Lottery Director Conrad "Ricky" Francois said money was also stolen from the agency’s vault.
Lottery’s operations are currently being investigated by the V.I. Inspector General’s Office, whose agents have been in and out of the offices in both districts for the past few months.
Also responding to the scene was Fire Services’ Arson and Investigation Unit, along with officers from the Police Department and Lottery’s Enforcement Division.
"An investigation was conducted and the fire marshal and his deputy investigators have ruled this case to be arson related, and have turned this matter over to the Police Department and the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division," the statement said.