News / Utah / 

Fire at abandoned school concerns Midvale residents

By Nkoyo Iyamba | Posted - Apr 30th, 2013 @ 9:12pm

11 photos

MIDVALE — An old elementary school in Midvale has been vacant for the last year and after a small fire inside the building Monday night, residents say demolition can't come soon enough.

Neighbors living along the south and east side of the old Midvale Elementary School said the property is an eyesore and a hazard and they want it gone.

"Because it's under demolition, there's so many holes in the structure," said Capt. Clint Mecham with the Unified Fire Authority. "It's hard to secure them all."

Fire and police officials have responded to at least 10 calls about vandals in the school since January — most of them within the last two months.

"This building has been a constant source of concern for us," said Mecham.

Monday night, someone set multiple fires within the building.

"At least eight and possibly as many as 10," said Mecham. "One in the gymnasium and a number up on the second floor."

Mecham said the fires were small and crews were able to douse the flames quickly, but he said the fire could've been worse and spread to other parts of the neighborhood.

"Extremely dangerous when you come to not only the building itself being compromised," Mecham said. "But then you add the component of fire to it and it becomes just unpredictable."

Neighbors feel the same way. Teri Eggett lives on the south side of the school. She said she has seen troubling activity inside the school.

"There were kids on the roof and I saw shadows inside and I heard glass busting," Eggett said. "It's just scary that way because I don't know who's in there and I have kids, and I don't want them being around my neighborhood."

Allen Tippetts lives on the east side of the school. He said he has seen kids using the playground fenced inside the property lines. But he said the fence has only been there a short while.

This building has been a constant source of concern for us.

–Clint Mecham

"It was either Friday or Saturday that the fence went up," said Tippetts. "The windows were taken out of the building quite a while before then. So it was accessible to vandals before that."

Unified Fire and Police said patrols have been monitoring the school inside and out every day.

"This will continue to be a problem for us we're sure until the building is completely demolished," Mecham said.

The Canyons School District also has security teams patrolling the building. But the district has a partnership with law enforcement to use the building for fire safety training, which delayed the demolition.

"When they need to have a training facility, and we have precisely what it is they're looking for," said Jennifer Toomer-Cook, spokeswoman for Canyons School District. "The we allow that."

Toomer-Cook said Canyons owns the parcel of land but the Board of Education approved Mackay Demolition Company in Bountiful in mid-April to handle security and demolition of the property.

"We're working with the demolition company to get the building demolished," Toomer-Cook said.

Residents like Tippetts hope the fence that's now in place and beefed up patrols in the area will help keep vandals out of the building.

"We would just like it (the building) taken down as quickly as possible so that it isn't a hazard," Tippetts said.


Related Stories

Nkoyo Iyamba

    KSL Weather Forecast