University of Md turtle mascot statue catches fire

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) - University of Maryland police say finals-week offerings left around a statue of the school's mascot, Testudo, caught fire overnight, but the bronze terrapin is unharmed.

Officers were called to the statue in front McKeldin Library early Wednesday and found notes and books had burned.

The fire was out before officers arrived, but images posted on social media showed flames billowing around the statue perched on a pedestal, which overlooks the campus mall.

Police said Wednesday evening that the fire was accidental. It was caused when a lampshade was placed over a lighted candle.

Testudo is a diamondback terrapin. According to the university website, starting in the 1990s, students have been leaving Testudo offerings _ food, cigarettes, soda, beer, poems, computer discs, candy, flowers, coins _ at final exam time for good luck.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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