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Suspect seen fleeing Fort Cronkhite rifle range destroyed by fire

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A National Park Service ranger saw a male fleeing a historic rifle range building at Fort Cronkhite that was broken into and destroyed by fire Wednesday night, a spokeswoman for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area said Thursday morning.

The ranger noticed the building had been broken into and set on fire around 10:15 p.m. After a lengthy chase by the ranger, the male suspect escaped in dense brush, GGNRA spokeswoman Shalini Gopie said.

Rangers and U.S. Park police set up a perimeter and roads were closed in the headlands until this morning. A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter and a California Highway Patrol helicopter and fixed-wing plane searched the area for the arson suspect, Gopie said.

The fire at 901 Bunker Road was reported around 11 p.m. and the structure was engulfed in flames when firefighters from several agencies arrived, Southern Marin Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Matthew Barnes said.

Firefighters from the Marin County, Mill Valley and Central Marin fire departments and the Novato Fire Protection District also responded to the fire. Firefighters were on the scene overnight and were mopping up today, Barnes said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, Barnes said.

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