Woman Rescued in Suspicious Ky. Dorm Fire

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) -- A college student was pulled from a dormitory fire that appeared to have been deliberately set, the state fire marshal's office said Sunday.

``Apparently this is a crime scene,'' said Ken Meredith, a spokesman for the fire marshal's office.

Western Kentucky University spokesman Bob Skipper said the student was in critical condition with extensive burns and other wounds at Vanderbilt University Hospital in Nashville, Tenn., about 60 miles south of Bowling Green.

``She did have some puncture wounds, but they appear to be superficial,'' Skipper said. He said he did not have more information about the wounds, which Meredith had earlier described as stab wounds.

Skipper said authorities were looking at everything, including whether the blaze was set by the victim.

``I'm sure they've looked at that, but I don't know if that's been ruled out,'' he said.

No arrests had been made as of Sunday night.

University and police officials would not release the name of the injured student. Students and family members, however, identified the student as Katie Autry, and an online university directory listed a Melissa K. Autry as living in Hugh Poland Hall room 214, the room where the fire occurred.

Authorities would say little about the investigation and remained on the scene Sunday night, long after the 4 a.m. fire. A Kentucky State Police arson investigator was sent to the scene, but state police said university police were in charge of the investigation. Campus police chief Bob Deane referred all questions to Skipper.

About 50 people were in Hugh Poland Hall when the fire started shortly in a room on the second floor, Skipper said.

The fire was confined to one room in the nine-story dorm, which houses about 300 students, and it was put out by the dormitory's sprinkler system, he said. All those who had been inside the dorm had been accounted for Sunday morning.

Andrea Pendleton, a freshman from Lexington who lives in the dorm, said she saw two firefighters carry the burned student out by her arms and legs.

``All of her clothes were burned off,'' Pendleton said. She said emergency officials treated the victim for about 15 minutes before taking her away in an ambulance.

In the dormitory, there was smoke and water damage throughout the second floor, but students who live on the other floors were being allowed to retrieve personal items Sunday afternoon, Skipper said.

The university is just wrapping up its spring session, with final exams scheduled this week.

Students milling around the dorm Sunday said it was the second fire in the dorm this semester. No injuries or evacuations occurred in the first fire, students said.

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