Student's Death In Saddleback College Fire Ruled A Suicide

A Saddleback College student who died in a fire in a classroom last week has been identified as Jacob Mathews, 21, of Lake Forest. His death has been ruled a suicide.

Mathews died in the fire he started in a third floor auditorium in the college's Business/General Studies building on July 8. He was transported to a burn ward in Santa Ana, where he died of his injuries. An Orange County coroner confirmed the suicide on Saturday.

The fire happened at 6:40 a.m. before the day's classes were to begin. Mathews was scheduled to attend a psychology class in the room 30 minutes later, according to the L.A. Times.

The fire reportedly caused an estimated $400,000 in damage, and classes have been moved to different locations on campus while the cleanup continues.

In a statement on the college's website, Saddleback College President Tod A. Burnett offered condolences:

Nothing breaks our hearts more than the sudden loss of one of our promising students. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jacob's family and friends, and on Friday we reached out to the family to extend our deepest condolences and support for them during this most difficult time.

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