One dead after "suspicious" fire at the People's Center in Pablo

Courtesy: Pablo People's Center Facebook Page 

PABLO - Multiple agencies responded to a fire at the People's Center in Pablo Sunday evening.

Tribal members worked all day Monday trying to salvage what they could from the center.

"The office area is a total loss, the gift shop and storage area is a total loss, we lost some priceless heirlooms from our ancestors, some beaded bags, buck skin vests, moccasins, gauntlets," People's Center Director Marie Torosian said.

The list goes on. The Lake County Sheriff's Office said they got their first call reporting the fire around 8 p.m. Sunday night.

The fire seemed to be intentionally set in multiple rooms in the building and by midnight it blew out windows on the top floor. 

While fighting the fire, crews discovered a mans body barricaded in the back office. He was later identified as 33-year-old Julian Michael Draper.

According to Sheriff Don Bell, Draper had barricaded the doors which made fighting the fire challenging. Right now Draper is a suspect in starting the fire at the People's Center.

Torosian said Draper was a volunteer at the center. She said she had no idea what he was going through at the time and this is a devastating loss for everyone involved.

"We are sad at what we lost but we are also sad for his family, we offer our condolences to his mother and his family for his loss," Torosian said.

Even though a lot was destroyed in the fire The People's Center said they are grateful for what they could salvage and for everyone who came and helped.

"We will move forward, I had a tribal elder come over and say a pray and that helped," Torosian said.

Draper's body was sent to the Montana crime lab where the cause of death will be investigated.

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