UPDATED at 11:32 a.m.
Tacoma police and fire investigators are looking into a suspicious fire early today at a day care in the South End.
Firefighters spotted a gas can on the ground and a broken window on the building in the 9200 block of Pacific Avenue, Tacoma fire spokesman Dale Vaughn said.
The cause of the fire, which left about $8,000 in damage, was under investigation.
Pathways to Learning Child Care, which is associated with the Church of God in Christ, is closed today.
Pat Hill, whose wife runs the center, said the day care sustained mostly water damage. He said they hope to be reopened by Monday. The center is licensed for up to 50 children from infants to 12 years old.
Tacoma firefighters were alerted to a problem at the building about 4:20 a.m. The building’s alarm company called authorities after a box alarm activated.
When firefighters arrived, they spotted smoke inside and the sprinkler system going off, Vaughn said. Firefighters had the blaze out within 15 minutes.
Tacoma police spokesman Mark Fulghum said it appeared a rock had been thrown through the window and someone used paper and gas to ignite the fire.
Tacoma police and firefighters credited the center’s sprinkler system with helping to douse the flames and preventing the fire from spreading.
“It deployed right away, thank God,” Hill said. “I am loving them.”
No injuries were reported.
It was the second incident at the day care in as many days. On Wednesday morning, someone drove a stolen van into the side of the building. Hill said the incident occurred before the center opened at 6 a.m.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether the two incidents are related, Fulghum said. No arrests have been reported.