Española police said an arsonist tried to burn down the Rio Grande Sun weekly newspaper office early Saturday after breaking a window, pouring gas inside and lighting the room on fire.
No one was inside the brick building at the time, and no injuries were reported when fire officials responded to the call at about 5:30 a.m. Saturday, said Detective Cpl. Daniel Espinoza, a spokesman for Española police.
Fire officials were able to contain the fire to the office before it spread through the building, located at 123 North Railroad Ave., Espinoza said. Damage estimates weren’t available.
Investigators are trying to determine the motive and haven’t identified any suspects. Espinoza said he couldn’t confirm or deny if the arson was in retaliation for the weekly’s news content or editorials.
Espinoza said police have reviewed one surveillance video that shows a man walking around the building, but shows nothing incriminating. He added that there are other survelliance videos from different angles, but they weren’t immediately available for investigators.
Espinoza said they haven’t interviewed the 911 caller yet and plan on canvassing residents on the west side of Española, where the newsroom building is located.
Robert Trapp, the publisher and owner of the weekly, said he has “no idea” who might have tried to burn down the building or why. Trapp said he hasn’t ordered his reporters to take any safety measures, and the staff will go into work Monday “just like any other day.”
The Rio Grande Sun, which was the focus of a 2012 documentary titled The Sun Never Sets and has a paid circulation of about 11,000, was founded in 1956, according to the newspaper’s website.
“The newspaper has always held a strong editorial stance against political corruption at the city, county and school level while striving to inform the electorate,” the weekly’s website says.
Contact Uriel J. Garcia at 986-3062 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @ujohnnyg.