Fire district: Beaverton High School blaze caused by failing refrigerator
A failing refrigerator was determined to be the cause of a Saturday fire that damaged nearby classrooms at Beaverton High School.
No one was hurt in the fire, which broke out about 10 a.m. and prompted a coach to evacuate players from basketball practice.
A Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue official said Sunday there is no damage estimate yet.
"We are sad to see such an important community institution impacted by the devastating nature of fire," said Fire Marshal Steve Forster. "I am proud of the quick and thorough work of our firefighters, investigators and appreciate the cooperation we have received from the Beaverton School District."
School is closed Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. The district announced Monday that classes at Beaverton High School were canceled Tuesday, to allow time for fire recovery efforts.
An informational website with schedules and updates on the fire damage was set up by the district.
"We are grateful for the rapid response from TVF&R and the many messages of support and offers of help," school principal Anne Erwin said in a statement. "Now the work begins to repair and clean the spaces that were damaged, and to support those who lost classrooms, property, and memories. In the coming days and weeks, we will call on the strength of our community for support. Together we will move through this challenge."
A quick response by firefighters prevented the spread of a two-alarm blaze that ignited inside several classrooms.
Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue crews were alerted to the emergency at the school, 13000 S.W. 2nd St., just before 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 18, after the fire alarm activated and a coach leading basketball practice noticed smoke in the hallways and then called 9-1-1.
The coach and his players evacuated safely, and a later search of the building found no one else inside.
Station 67 crews rushed to the scene within three minutes, according to a news release, and soon found black smoke billowing from a door leading to several classrooms, and high-temperature flames inside. A second alarm was raised to summon additional units to the area.
Crews extinguished the fire, while others worked to ventilate the room. First responders soon determined that fire suppression had prevented the blaze from spreading to the attic.
Principal Erwin said in an earlier message to students that access to the west end of the building will be restricted for at least the next week. Administrators are still working on a plan for upcoming finals.
"I understand that this is an upsetting event for all of us. We are working on a plan of supports for students and staff," Erwin said. "We are a strong community and I know we will get through this together."
Two companies, Servpro and Belfor, have been hired to repair smoke and water damage. An environmental hygienist will conduct air quality tests throughout the building as well.
This isn't the first fire at Beaverton High School. Longtime residents will recall the March 1979 inferno that destroyed the school's auditorium.
NOTE: This story has been updated with the cause of fire identified by Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue.
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